This month marked the opening of the Haruki Murakami Library—Waseda University’s new library designed by Kengo Kuma in honor of Murakami, which houses the author’s personal archive—and the simultaneous launch of “Authors Alive!”, a public reading series to celebrate the library’s opening.
In the first “Authors Alive!” public reading session, Murakami himself came to read alongside author Yoko Ogawa, reading his early short story “The Rise and Fall of Sharpie Cakes” and a story inspired by the Great Hanshin Earthquake, “Landscape With Flatiron.” As he told the audience, according to The Asahi Shimbun, Murakami chose to present “Landscape With Flatiron” because it contains a character who speaks in the Kansai dialect, and Murakami grew up in Kansai.
Murakami and Ogawa also took questions from the audience: in response to the question, “How much does life experience matter to you when you write fiction?” Murakami answered, “That depends on who you are. As for me, I couldn’t have written a thing if it had not been for the decade of my twenties. I believe that imagination is born of memories that overlap and intertwine.”