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Read Haruki Murakami’s writing advice for incoming college students.

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April 1, 2021, 11:51am

Today, Haruki Murakami cheered on incoming arts students in a speech at the entrance ceremony for his alma mater Waseda University in Tokyo, expressing his joy at being able to celebrate with them in person. And he also gave some easygoing advice:

You can’t write a good novel unless you think with your heart. You have to use your head, but it’s better if you’re not an honor student . . .

It’s a good reminder, one best learned early: to let yourself live, instead of tamping down your selfhood to become an achievement machine. Would that administrators had a similarly measured approach! Murakami also spoke on the importance of novels in “unprecedented times”:

Novels may be of little direct benefit to society, but without them society cannot progress in a healthy manner. I hope there will be people who inherit this role, and yet others who will warmly support them.

A current warm supporter of novelists: Waseda University, who presented Murakami with an award for his distinguished service in the arts. And this October, Waseda University’s Murakami Library—a library to house the author’s personal archive, as well as tens of thousands of vinyl records he has collected—will open to the public. So students can honor Murakami’s legacy as they study, but not too hard.

[via Kyodo News]

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