The Japanization of Modernity: Murakami Haruki between Japan and the United States

Oh, Murakami, you sly fox, you mercurial and fluid, thread a web between East and west that we at once desperately need and can’t quite comprehend. And yet we return, thirsty and increasingly drunk of the elixir that is the product of your craft.


This book focuses on how Haruki Murakami is accepted in the United States and how Murakami plays as a cultural mediator in Japan and the United States. The reason for the popularity of Murakami in the United States is the “pleasant” and discreet Japanese elements, as opposed to extreme Japan, such as Yukio Mishima.

The author is also not seen in Murakami the attitude to draw the West as “others” that threaten self from the Meiji period, also without being obsessed with a limited view there, its “otherness” to create It is said that it is well used. Murakami claims to be a “modern” writer, rather than “postmodern”, in that he ties this discussion with Murakami’s Lettel, and uses cultural others in his work. part is very interesting. Based on the reform of Japanese after the Meiji period

in Chapter 3, the consideration of the new usage of Murakami Japanese and Katakana is worth reading. 

Compared to other English-speaking Murakami studies that tend to devote significantly to Western philosophical theories other than Murakami Discussion, this author is honest in Murakami’s “story” research itself. Consideration of the history of Japanese literature and social background developed in the first half of the book provides indispensable information for Japanese scholars. I learned a lot about Japan myself through a book composed of the author’s own gaze of Japan from outside and the adoption of the outside perspective of Murakami. As Murakami Haruki and the author of this book preaches, the gaze of “external/others” contributed to the understanding of “self”. The Japanese are academic books to read. I hope this book will be translated into Japanese as soon as possible.

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