Born in Kyoto in 1949, Haruki Murakami spent most of his youth in Kobe. Both his father and mother taught Japanese literature, igniting a passion for literature early on in their son. Murakami’s father was also a Buddhist priest (meditations on religion and spirituality are key themes in Murakami’s work), and his mother was the daughter of a merchant. Murakami showed an affinity for Western culture from an early age, particularly Western literature and music. His favorite writers were Kurt Vonnegut and Richard Brautigan, and his favorite musicians were the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Radiohead, Charlie Parker, and countless jazz and classical musicians, particularly Ludwig van Beethoven. Murakami graduated from Waseda University in Tokyo in 1973, where he studied theater arts, and his first job was at a record store. Just before graduating, Murakami opened a coffeehouse (which served as a jazz bar in the evenings) called Peter Cat in Okobunji, Tokyo, with his wife, Yoko. He is a collector of vinyl records, a full-marathon runner and triathlete, and obsessed with cats (all interests that weigh heavily on his fiction).
Murakami did not start writing until he was twenty-nine years old. Legend has it that he was attending a baseball game in Tokyo when he had a revelation regarding writing. Murakami suddenly realized that he was capable of writing a book after seeing American ballplayer Dave Hilton (playing for the Hiroshima Carps) hit a double. Murakami started working...
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