There are two main characters in Haruki Murakami's novel 1Q84: Aomame and Tengo.
Aomame is a thirty-year-old assassin who has been hired by a wealthy woman, referred to as the Dowager, to kill men who have been abusive toward women. She is a professional who excels at her task, but she does not like killing; she finds it necessary but not enjoyable. Aomame grew up in a cult called the Society of Witnesses and, for this reason, was isolated from other children. The one memorable moment she has of school is of holding the hand of her fellow classmate Tengo. This one moment grows in significance as the book progresses.
Aomame's regular job is as a fitness instructor, and due to this, she is physically very fit and attractive. She is also promiscuous and frequents bars to pick up men. She does not pursue a relationship with any of them; Tengo is the only one she loves, even though they have not seen each other since they were children.
Tengo is a math teacher and novelist but has not published any of his writing. His friend Komatsu convinces him to heavily edit a novella written by a seventeen-year-old girl named Fuka-Eri for a contest. At first he resists, but he finds himself so intrigued by the story that he accepts the job. His life has not had much focus until this point, but he finds purpose as he begins working on this new project. This is when he enters the world of 1Q84, or as he calls it, the Town of Cats.
Tengo was raised by his father and has only one, confusing memory of his mother. His father worked for NHK and took Tengo along door-to-door every Sunday, collecting fees. Tengo hated it, and the experience contributed to his feelings of isolation as a child—feelings similar to Aomame's. He, too, remembers the moment when, as a child, Aomame grasped his hand.