Murakami library unveiled at author’s alma mater in Tokyo

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Tokyo (AFP)

Haruki Murakami fans can marvel at a vast collection of the Japanese author’s novels, albums and vinyls in a cavernous new library unveiled Wednesday at his former university in Tokyo.

Murakami, 72, is one of Japan’s most famous writers, whose intricate tales of the absurdity and loneliness of modern life are world bestsellers.

The library dedicated to his work, which opens next week at Waseda University, features a replica of his minimalist workspace, a cafe and even a radio studio.

“Honestly, I wish something like this was built after I died,” Murakami joked as reporters walked around the installation.

“Now that it’s over in my lifetime I’m a little nervous. What if I commit a crime? It would cause serious problems for Waseda,” said the writer and jazz fanatic.

The vaulted wooden interior and funky white facade of Haruki Murakami Library is the work of famous architect Kengo Kuma, who also designed Tokyo’s National Stadium, used at the Olympics this summer.

Murakami said he hoped the installation would inspire students to “freely generate their own ideas.” Philippe FONG AFP

Officially named The Waseda International House of Literature, the library will open on October 1 and will initially focus on novels, essays, interviews and other texts by Murakami.

It was renovated from an existing classroom building on campus where the writer was a student five decades ago.

Murakami, wearing a navy blue jacket and mustard yellow t-shirt, remembers reading books and skipping classes during a time of radical student movements.

“I hope this will be a facility where students can freely generate their own ideas and launch them as concrete projects,” he said.

Other books by other authors will be added to the shelves in the future, “so I hope it will be a large and fluid research space,” he added.

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