Travelling to Japan is still a no-go at this point due to pandemic restrictions, but here’s something to look forward to once things return to normal: a new library in Tokyo containing the personal archive of much-beloved author Haruki Murakami.
The newly designed library will be located in Murakami’s alma mater Waseda University. The collection will be the home of the works and donated items of Murakami which include his personal notes, manuscripts, book reviews, and translations related to his works. Also, it will have the tens of thousands of collections that Murakami, a music and jazz enthusiast, has collected over the years.
The building was officially named the Waseda International House of Literature or simply the Haruki Murakami Library.
Murakami is hoping that once opened, the library could also host record concerts.
“I hope the new building will provide an open and welcoming atmosphere for international exchange,” said Murakami. “It would be wonderful if a designated study room or space is built to hold my works and donated items, where record concerts can be held, too. I personally would like to get myself actively involved in these various aspects in creating a place where new discoveries constantly await.”
The building’s architect Kengo Kuma said Murakami wants the library to be “full of life, where university students and all kinds of people have access.”
“This library would be a perfect place for Mr. Murakami’s works. This could possibly be a place where students not only become exposed to the literary world of Haruki Murakami, but also contemplate the future of literature, maybe even the world. I’m now designing this facility with hopes that it will be somewhat of a casual, cultural center where people can think about such things over coffee,” Kuma said.
Waseda University President Aiji Tanaka said he hopes the new library will symbolize the value of stories.
“When I asked Mr. Murakami what the most important thing was in a novel, he answered that it was ‘the story.’ A story overcomes language barriers and its value can be equivalently exchanged. I hope that the Waseda International House of Literature (Murakami Library) will embody the charm of stories connecting the world,” Tanaka said