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19 2010

The First Person of Haruki Murakami

I’d like to make a point that I’m NOT writing this post with intent to criticize the writer’s works or to demean the existence as a novelist.

I just want to tell you about someone else in his “Boku (僕, one of Japanese personal pronouns meaning ‘I’ Murakami uses in his novels as the first person).” Of course, a first person in “I novels” may contains multiple individualities except an author. It’s no problem if there is an actual person as a model of “Boku”, but personally, this writer’s Boku encourages me to think about a lot of things because I know the model.

Theatre Museum
Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum
The word on the façade is “Totus Mundus Agit Histrionem”, the motto of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, meaning "All the world's a stage (全世界は、劇場なり).”

I met Mr. K (I’ll just call him K here) when I was working for a former company. K was (and still is) a president of an advertising company. K was divorced and single at that time.

One winter, at a Christmas party hosted by K’s friend, when I stood and chatted with K, a photographer started to give out photo postcards. The photo was a portrait of Haruki Murakami. It made K told me about his relationship with the popular writer.

K was a Murakami’s classmate in high school in Kobe, and they entered the same university. They lived in the same student dormitory and were real close. K said they maintained contact with each other until shortly BEFORE Murakami became really famous as a writer.

One day, one of their mutual friends informed K of the contents of his friend’s novels. The mutual friend said, “Murakami is writing about you.”

During his youth, K, a baby boomer, was a student movement activist, out going and had a strong personality. I thought K was attractive to ladies.

K said that he had various anecdotes in school days and later, and he told me some of them. I only had read several Mmurakami’s early novels including short stories by the time, but I already KNEW many K’s anecdotes because the leading figure, Murakami’s Boku, did the same things.

I’m going to introduce just one K’s anecdote.
K had a client, an insurance company, and at one time, he made all promotional brochures, calendars and everything in the motif of SHEEP though it was not the year of the Sheep.
You see?

On the basis of speculation, I thought, maybe, the young novelist wanted to be K.

The movie, Norwegian Wood based on the Murakami’s novel, premiered last week, and the author’s name gets a lot of media exposure these days. So, I’m forcibly reminded of K and their relationship.

I don’t have an opportunity to see K, and don’t read the author’s novels any more.
Though the gulf between them seemed to widen in those days, I found there is an immediate connection between them now when I went through into the Internet and updated K’ news for this post.

Well, things would shift slowly with time.

Needless to say, Boku is NOT simply K. Murakami’s first person in the early novels is original created by the talented writer by the absorption of K.


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