Haruki Murakami is a Japanese writer.

Haruki Murakami books and stories have been bestsellers in Japan as well as internationally, with his work being translated into 50 languages and selling millions of copies outside his native country.

He was born on January 12, 1949, in Kyoto, Japan, during the post–World War II baby boom.

His fiction, sometimes criticized by Japan’s literary establishment as un-Japanese, was influenced by Western writers from Chandler to Vonnegut by way of Brautigan.

It is frequently surrealistic and melancholic or fatalistic, marked by a Kafkaesque rendition of the “recurrent themes of alienation and loneliness” he weaves into his narratives.

Murakami’s work has received numerous awards.

Including the World Fantasy Award, the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, and the Franz Kafka Prize.

In January 2009, Murakami received the Jerusalem Prize, a biennial literary award given to writers whose work deals with themes of human freedom, society, politics, and government.

There were protests in Japan and elsewhere against his attending the February award ceremony in Israel, including threats to boycott his work as a response against Israel’s recent bombing of the Gaza.

Murakami chose to attend the ceremony but gave a speech to the gathered Israeli dignitaries harshly criticizing Israeli policies. Murakami said:

“Each of us possesses a tangible living soul. The system has no such thing. We must not allow the system to exploit us.”

Haruki Murakami Quotes:

1. “Even chance meetings are the result of karma… Things in life are fated by our previous lives. That even in the smallest events there’s no such thing as coincidence.”

2. “I’d be smiling and chatting away, and my mind would be floating around somewhere else, like a balloon with a broken string.”

3. “We’re all kind of weird and twisted and drowning.”

4. “Look at the rain long enough, with no thoughts in your head, and you gradually feel your body falling loose, shaking free of the world of reality. Rain has the power to hypnotize.”

5. “Closing your eyes isn’t going to change anything. Nothing’s going to disappear just because you can’t see what’s going on…. Keep your eyes wide open. Only a coward closes his eyes.”

6. “The better you were able to imagine what you wanted to imagine, the farther you could flee from reality.”

7. “Everything ended in silence. The beasts and spirits heaved a deep breath, broke up their encirclement, and returned to the depths of a forest that had lost its heart.”

8. “Alright, then, where do the lost names go? The probability of their surviving in the maze of a city must be extremely low.”

9. “You lost all interest in this world. You were disappointed and discouraged and lost interest in everything. So you abandoned your physical body. You went to a world apart and you’re living a different kind of life there. In a world that’s inside you.”

10. “For a certain kind of person, love begins from something tiny or silly. From something like that or it doesn’t begin at all.”

11. “In this world, there is no absolute good, no absolute evil,” the man said. Good and evil are not fixed, stable entities but are continually trading places. A good may be transformed into an evil in the next second. And vice versa.”

12. “You’d yell at the top of your lungs, but nobody would hear you, and you couldn’t expect anyone to find you.”

13. “The “world” – the word always makes me think of a tortoise and elephants tirelessly supporting a gigantic disc. The elephants have no knowledge of the tortoise’s role, the tortoise unable to see what the elephants are doing. And neither is the least aware of the world on their backs.”

14. “If you can love someone with your whole heart, even one person, then there’s salvation in life. Even if you can’t get together with that person.”

*This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Haruki Murakami, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License 3.0 (freedom).