Ryū Murakami

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Ryū Murakami
Ryu Murakami.jpg
Ryū Murakami in 2005
Born(1952-02-19) February 19, 1952 (age 62)
Sasebo, Nagasaki, Japan
OccupationNovelist, essayist, filmmaker
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Ryū Murakami
Ryu Murakami.jpg
Ryū Murakami in 2005
Born(1952-02-19) February 19, 1952 (age 62)
Sasebo, Nagasaki, Japan
OccupationNovelist, essayist, filmmaker

Ryū Murakami (村上 龍 Murakami Ryū?, born February 19, 1952 in Sasebo, Nagasaki) is a Japanese novelist, short story writer, essayist and filmmaker. Murakami's novels explore human nature through themes of disillusion, drug use, surrealism, murder and war set against the dark backdrop of Japan. His most well known novels are Almost Transparent Blue, Coin Locker Babies and In the Miso Soup.


He was born Ryūnosuke Murakami (村上龍之助 Murakami Ryūnosuke?) in Sasebo, Nagasaki on February 19, 1952. The name Ryūnosuke was taken from the main character in Daibosatsu-tōge, a piece of fiction by Nakazato Kaizan (1885–1944).

He attended primary, middle and senior high school in Sasebo. While a student in senior high, Murakami helped form a rock band called Coelacanth, in which he was the drummer. After the band’s breakup, he went on to join the rugby club, which he found especially grueling. He soon left the rugby club and transferred to the school’s newspaper department. In the summer of his third year in senior high, Murakami and his colleagues barricaded the rooftop of his high school and he was placed under house arrest for three months. During this time, he had an encounter with the hippie culture which influenced him greatly.

Murakami graduated from high school in 1970, around which time he went on to form yet another rock band and produce 8-millimeter indie films.

Murakami went to Tokyo and enrolled in the silkscreen department in Gendaishichosha School of Art, but dropped out halfway through the year. In October 1972, he moved to Fussa near the base of the U.S. Air Force and was accepted into the Musashino Art University in the sculpture program.

In the early 1990s, Murakami devoted himself to Cuban music. He introduced it to Japan and produced the concerts of Cuban musicians in Japan. Then he established his label, Murakami's in Sony Music.

Murakami started e-mail magazine JMM (Japan Mail Media) in 1999. He serves as the chief editor.

Since 2006 he has hosted a TV talk show on business and finance called Kanburia Kyuden which is broadcast on TV Tokyo.[1] The co-host is Eiko Koike. In the same year, Murakami began video streaming service, RVR (Ryu's Video Report).

Murakami established the new company G2010 (ジーニーゼロイチゼロ Jī Nī Zero Ichi Zero?) to sell and produce eBooks on November 5, 2010.[2]

Murakami launched the new private brand of G2010, 村上龍電子本製作所 (Murakami Ryū Denshibon Seisakusyo Ryū Murakami eBook Maker?) which published his writing and produce work to adjust the start of the iBookstore Japanese version in 2013.[3]


Murakami's first work, the short novel Almost Transparent Blue, written while he was still a student of Musashino Art University, deals with promiscuity and drug use among disaffected Japanese youth. Critically acclaimed as a new style of literature, it won the Gunzō newcomer's literature prize in 1976 despite some observers decrying it as decadent. Later the same year, Blue won the Akutagawa Prize, going on to become a bestseller.

In 1980, Murakami published the much longer novel Coin Locker Babies, again to critical acclaim, for which he won the 3rd Noma Liberal Arts New Member prize. Afterward he wrote an autobiographical work 69. His next work Ai to Gensou no Fascism (1987) revolves around the struggle reforming Japan’s Survival of the Fittest model of society, by the secret "Hunting Society". His work in 1988, Topaz, is about a SM Girl’s radical expression of her sexuality.

Murakami's story The World in Five Minutes From Now (1994) is written as a point of view in a parallel universe version of Japan, which got him nominated for the 30th Tanizaki Prize. In 1996 he continued his autobiography 69, and released the Murakami Ryū Movie and Novel Collection. He also won the Hirabayashi Taiko literary prize. The same year, he wrote the novel Topaz II about a female high school student engaged in compensated dating, which later was adapted as a live action film Love and Pop by Anime director Hideaki Anno; as well as Popular Hits of the Showa Era, which concerns the escalating firepower of a battle between five teenage male and five middle-aged female social rejects.

In 1997 he wrote the psychological thriller novel In the Miso Soup, set in Tokyo's Kabuki-cho red-light district, which won him the Yomiuri Prize for Fiction that year. In 1999 he became the Editor in Chief of the mail magazine JMM which discusses the ‘bubble’ economy of Japan.

In 2000, he wrote Parasites (Kyōsei chū) about a young hikikomori who is fascinated by war, which won him the 36th Tanizaki Prize. The same year Kibō no Kuni no Exodus was written, a story about junior high students who lose their desire to be involved in normal Japanese society, and instead create a new society over the internet.

In 2001, he became involved in his friend Ryuichi Sakamoto's group N.M.L. No More Landmine (see Zero Landmine), which involves the removal of landmines that are still buried in many countries around the world.

In 2004, Murakami announced the publication of 13 Year Old Hello Work, a work whose aim is to increase an interest in young people to go and find jobs and work. His next work Hantō wo Deyo (2005) is about the invasion to Japan by North Korea, which won him the 58th Noma Liberal Arts prize, and the 59th Mainichi Shuppan Culture Prize.

His novel Audition was adapted into a feature film by Takashi Miike. Murakami reportedly liked it so much he gave Miike his blessing to adapt Coin Locker Babies. The screen play was worked on by director Jordan Galland. However, Miike could not raise funding for the project. An adaptation directed by Michele Civetta is currently in production.[4]

In 2011, Utau Kujira won the Mainichi Art Award.

Selected bibliography[edit]


YearJapanese TitleEnglish TitleNotes
1976限りなく透明に近いブルー (Kagirinaku Tōmei ni Chikai Burū?)Almost Transparent BlueEnglish translation by Nancy Andrew
1977海の向こうで戦争が始まる (Umi no Mukō de Sensō ga Hajimaru?)War Begins Beyond the Sea
1980コインロッカー・ベイビーズ (Koinrokkā Beibīzu?)Coin Locker BabiesEnglish translation by Stephen Snyder, republished by Pushkin Press, 2013
1983だいじょうぶマイ・フレンド (Daijōbu mai furendo?)All Right, My Friend
1985テニスボーイの憂鬱 (Tenisu Bōi no Yūutsu?)Melancholy of Tennis Boy
198769 Shikusuti Nain69 sixty nineEnglish translation by Ralph F. McCarthy, published by Pushkin Press, 2013
愛と幻想のファシズム (Ai to Gensō no Fasizumu?)Fascism of Love and Fantasy
1989ラッフルズホテル (Raffuruzu Hoteru?)Raffles Hotel
1991コックサッカーブルース (Kokkusakkā Burūsu?)Cocksucker Blues
超電導ナイトクラブ (Chōdendō Naito Kurabu?)Superconduction Nightclub
1992イビサ (Ibisa?)Ibiza
長崎オランダ村 (Nagasaki Oranda Mura?)Nagasaki Holland Village
1993エクスタシー (Ekusutashī?)Ecstasy
フィジーの小人 (Fijī no Kobito?)Fijian Midget
368Y Par4 第2打 (Sanbyakurokujūhachi Yādo Pā Fō Dai Ni Da?)368Y Par4 the 2nd shot
音楽の海岸 (Ongaku no Kaigan?)The seashore of the music
1994昭和歌謡大全集 (Shōwa Kayō Daizenshū?)Popular Hits of the Showa Era: A NovelEnglish translation by Ralph F. McCarthy. Published by Pushkin Press, 2013
五分後の世界 (Gofungo no Sekai?)The World in Five Minutes From Now
ピアッシング (Piasshingu?)PiercingEnglish translation by Ralph F. McCarthy. Published in English January 2007.
1995KYOKOKyokoFrench translation by Corinne Atlan
1996ヒュウガ・ウイルス 五分後の世界Ⅱ (Hūga Uirusu Gofungo no Sekai Tū?)Hūga Virus: The World in Five Minutes From Now II
メランコリア (Merankoria?)MelancholiaFrench translation by Sylvain Cardonnel
ラブ&ポップ トパーズⅡ (Rabu ando Poppu Topāzu Tū?)Love & Pop: Topaz II
1997オーディション (Ōdishon?)Audition
ストレンジ・デイズ (Sutorenji Deizu?)Strange Days
イン ザ・ミソスープ (In za Misosūpu?)In the Miso SoupEnglish translation by Ralph F. McCarthy. Published in English 2005.
French translation ("Miso Soup") by Corinne Atlan. Published in French January 2003.
1998ライン (Rain?)LinesFrench translation ("Lignes") by Sylvain Cardonnel, Czech translation ("Čáry") by Jan Levora.
2000共生虫 (Kyōsei Chū?)ParasitesFrench translation by Sylvain Cardonnel
希望の国のエクソダス (Kibō no Kuni no Ekusodasu?)Exodus of the country of hope
2001タナトス (Tanatosu?)Thanatos
最後の家族 (Saigo no Kazoku?)The Last Family
2005半島を出よ (Hantō o Deyo?)From the Fatherland, with LoveTranslated into English by Ralph McCarthy, Charles De Wolf and Ginny Tapley Takemori, published by Pushkin Press, 2013
2010歌うクジラSinging Whale
2011心はあなたのもとに (Kokoro wa Anata no Motoni?)

Short story collections[edit]

YearJapanese TitleEnglish TitleNotes
1984悲しき熱帯 (Kanashiki Nettai?)Tropical Sadreissued under the new title of “Summer in the city” in 1988.
1986POST ポップアートのある部屋 (Posuto Poppu Āto no aru Heya?)POST, Room with Pop Art
走れ!タカハシ (Hashire! Takahashi?)Run! Takahashia series of novels about one baseball player
ニューヨーク・シティ・マラソンNew York City Marathon
1988トパーズ (Topāzu?)Topaz
村上龍料理小説集 (Murakami Ryū Ryōri Shōsetsushū?)The collection of the Ryū Murakami dish novels
1991恋はいつも未知なもの (Kanashiki Nettai?)Love is always strange
1995村上龍映画小説集 (Murakami Ryū Eiga Shōsetsushū?)The collection of the Ryū Murakami movie novels
1996モニカ-音楽家の夢・小説家の物語 (Monika – Ongakuka noYume Shōsetsuka no Yume?)Monica - Dream of musician, story of novelistJoint work with Ryuichi Sakamoto
1997白鳥 (Hakuchō?)Swan
1998ワイン一杯だけの真実 (Wain Ippai dake no Shinjitsu?)Truth of a cup of wine
2003とおくはなれてそばにいて (Tōku Hanarete Soba ni ite?)
どこにでもある場所どこにもいないわたし (Dokonidemo aru Basho Dokonimo inai Watashi?)renamed to 空港にて (Kūkō nite at the airport?) in the paperback edition
2007特権的情人美食 村上龍料理&官能小説集 (Tokkenteki Jōjin Bishoku Murakami Ryū Ryōri & Kannō Shōsetsushū?)The privileged mistress gastronomy: The collection of Ryū Murakami dish & sensuality novels
201255歳からのハローライフ (Gojūgo-sai kara no Harōraifu?)Hello Life from 55 years old

English short stories[edit]

YearJapanese TitleEnglish TitleNotes
2004It's Been Just a Year and a Half Now Since I Went with My Boss to That Barshort story published in Zoetrope: All-Story (Vol. 8, No. 4, 2004). English translation by Ralph McCarthy.[5]
2005I am a Novelistshort story published in The New Yorker (Jan. 3, 2005).
English translation by Ralph McCarthy
2009At the Airportshort story in Zoetrope All-Story (Vol. 13, No. 2, 2009). English translation by Ralph McCarthy.[5]
2010No Matter How Many Times I Read Your Confession, There’s One Thing I Just Don’t Understand: Why Didn’t You Kill the Woman?Zoetrope All-Story (Vol. 14, No. 4, 2010).[5]
2011PenlightZoetrope All-Story (Vol. 15, No. 3, 2011). English translation by Ralph McCarthy.[5]

Non-fiction and essays[edit]

YearJapanese TitleEnglish TitleNotes
1985アメリカン★ドリームAmerican Dream
1987すべての男は消耗品である。All the men are consumables.Vol.1–11 (1987–2010)
1991村上龍全エッセイ 1976-1981All the Ryū Murakami essays 1976-1981
村上龍全エッセイ 1982-1986All the Ryū Murakami essays 1982-1986
村上龍全エッセイ 1987-1991All the Ryū Murakami essays 1987-1991
1993「普通の女の子」として存在したくないあなたへ。To you who don’t want to exist as "an ordinary girl."
1996あなたがいなくなった後の東京物語Tokyo Story after you go away
1998寂しい国の殺人Murder in the lonely country
フィジカル・インテンシティPhysical IntensityVol.1-5 (1998-2002)
1999寂しい国から遥かなるワールドサッカーへFrom the Lonely country to far-off world soccer
2000誰にでもできる恋愛The love that anyone can do
2001ダメな女Useless Woman
2002だまされないために、わたしは経済を学んだ 村上龍weekly reportI studied economics so as not to be deceived: Ryū Murakami weekly report
恋愛の格差Involuntary celibacy
マクロ・日本経済からミクロ・あなた自身へ 村上龍weekly reportFrom macro, Japanese economy to micro, yourself: Ryū Murakami weekly report
2003自殺よりはSEX 村上龍の恋愛・女性論SEX is better than Suicide: Ryū Murakami’s theory of love and woman
2006わたしは甘えているのでしょうか?27歳・OLAm I spoiling myself?

27 years old, female office worker

村上龍文学的エッセイ集The collection of Ryū Murakami literary essays
2007案外、買い物好きUnexpectedly, I’m a shopping lover
2008それでもわたしは、恋がしたい 幸福になりたい お金も欲しいStill I want to love, want to be happy, and also want money
2009無趣味のすすめEncouragement of the having no hobby
2010逃げる中高年、欲望のない若者たちOld and middle age who run away, youths with few wants
2012櫻の樹の下には瓦礫が埋まっているDebris is buried under the cherry tree.

Interviews and letters[edit]

YearJapanese TitleEnglish TitleNotes
1977中上健次vs村上龍 俺たちの船は、動かぬ霧の中を、纜を解いてKenji Nakagami vs Ryū Murakami: Our ship unmoors in a stagnant fogwith Kenji Nakagami
1981ウォーク・ドント・ラン 村上龍VS村上春樹Walk, Don’t Run: Ryū Murakami vs Haruki Murakamiwith Haruki Murakami
1985EV.Cafe 超進化論EV.Cafe ultra-Darwinismwith Ryuichi Sakamoto
1992友よ、また逢おうSee you, my friendRyū Murakami = Ryuichi Sakamoto letters
1994村上龍+椹木野衣 最新対論 神は細部に宿るRyū Murakami + Noi Sawaragi Latest Discussion: God is in the detailswith Noi Sawaragi
1999村上龍対談集 存在の耐えがたきサルサRyū Murakami interview collection: The Unbearable Salsa[disambiguation needed] of Being
2006「個」を見つめるダイアローグ 村上壟X伊藤穣一 ("Ko" wo Mitsumeru Daiarōgu Murakami Ryū X Itō Jōichi?)Dialogue to stare at "individual": Ryū Murakami X Joichi Ito

Picture book[edit]

YearJapanese TitleEnglish TitleNotes
1983絵本 だいじょうぶマイ・フレンドPicture book: All Right, My FriendIllustrator: Katsu Yoshida
1989友達のラ リ ル レ ロIllustrator: Sumako Yasui
1996絵物語・永遠の一瞬 すてきなジェニファーWonderful JenniferIllustrator: Yoko Yamamoto
1999あの金で何が買えたか バブル・ファンタジーWhat were we able to buy with that money?: Bubble FantasyIllustrator: Yuka Hamano
2000ストレイト・ストーリーThe Straight Storypicture book of the movie (director: David Lynch) of the same title, Illustrator: Yuka Hamano
2001おじいさんは山へ金儲けに 時として、投資は希望を生むThe old man goes to the mountain for money-making. The investment occasionally produces hope.Illustrator: Yuka Hamano
200313歳のハローワークHello Work for 13 years oldIllustrator: Yuka Hamano
ポストマンPostmanIllustrator: Yuka Hamano
シールド(盾) (Sīrudo (Tate)?)ShieldIllustrator: Yuka Hamano


YearJapanese TitleEnglish TitleRoleDirector
Kagirinaku tōmei ni chikai burū
Almost Transparent BlueNovel, Scriptwriter, DirectorRyū Murakami
Daijōbu mai furendo
All Right, My FriendNovel, Scriptwriter, DirectorRyū Murakami
Raffuruzu Hoteru
Raffles HotelNovel, DirectorRyū Murakami
Topaz a.k.a. Tokyo DecadenceNovel, Scriptwriter, DirectorRyū Murakami
Rabu & Poppu
Love & PopNovelHideaki Anno
AuditionNovelTakashi Miike
2000KYOKOBecause of YouNovel, Scriptwriter, DirectorRyū Murakami
Hashire! Ichirō
Run! IchiroNovelKazuki Omori
Shōwa kayō daizenshū
Karaoke Terror: The Complete Japanese Showa SongbookNovelTetsuo Shinohara
69NovelLee Sang-il
Popular!Executive ProducerJen Paz
Koinrokkā Beibīzu
Coin Locker BabiesNovelMichele Civetta


External links[edit]