Japan’s ‘Harukists’ Cheer Release of New Murakami Title

In News by Dennis Abrams

Like a Potter release in the UK, the arrival of a Murakami title in Japan means countdown retail events and early bookshop openings.

Schinchosha Publishing announces the publication of Haruki Murakami’s two-volume new work.

By Dennis Abrams | @DennisAbrams2

‘A Treasure Trove of Metaphors’
Friday (February 24) was a day many of the most faithful fans of Haruki Murakami—dubbed Harukists—had long been awaiting. The writer’s two-volume Kishidancho Goroshi (Killing Commendatore) went on sale.

As Daisuki Kikuchi writes in The Japan Timesmany bookstores opened earlier than they normally do—some as early as midnight—to capitalize on the popularity of the author.

“Fans rushed out of their homes to grab a copy of the novel and read a few pages on their way to work,” Kikuchi reports. And some avid readers were issuing their opinions of the new work just hours after it had reached the market.

An Asahi Shimbun report says that the main outlet of the Yaesu Book Centerin in Tokyo opened at 7:30 a.m., two-and-a-half hours earlier than usual, to attract commuters on their way to work.

The book is Murakami’s first full-length novel since 2010’s 1Q84. Published by Shinchosha Publishing, the book’s first volume is titled “Arawareu Idea” (“Appearing Idea”); the second “Utsurou Metaphor” (“Changing Metaphor”).

In The Japan Times’ article, Kikuchi cites a spokeswoman from Shinchosha, who says that 500,000 copies of each of the two books were printed in its first edition; an additional 200,000 copies of Volume 1 and 100,000 copies of Volume 2 were printed before the title was officially released.

Tsuneo Matasushita, a spokesman for Books Sanseido’s main branch is quoted, saying, “We don’t usually hear a number as big as 1 million copies for hardcover books.”

Asahi Shimbun quotes Kunio Nakamura, owner of Rokujigen, a popular book café among fans of Murakami, who stayed up all night to read the new book. Nakamura calls the book a Murakami “best hits album” and “a treasure trove of metaphors.”

And The Japan Times talks with a college student who was at Books Kinokuniya for a “countdown event” prior to the release. The student says, “It feels great to share the joy with other fans nationwide.”

The full report from The Japan Times is hereAsahi Shimbun’s full article is here.

About the Author

Dennis Abrams

Dennis Abrams is a contributing editor for Publishing Perspectives, responsible for news, children's publishing and media. He's also a restaurant critic, literary blogger, and the author of "The Play's The Thing," a complete YA guide to the plays of William Shakespeare published by Pentian, as well as more than 30 YA biographies and histories for Chelsea House publishers.