Although he was announced the winner last year, he was only given the award this weekend. According to the judges, Murakami was selected for his ability to “boldly mix classic narrative art, pop culture, Japanese tradition, dreamlike realism and philosophical discussion”.
Murakami gave a notable speech following the ceremony, wherein he seemed to allude to what seems to be global panic about immigration. He poignantly notes that: “No matter how high a wall we build to keep intruders out, no matter how strictly we exclude outsiders, no matter how much we rewrite history to suit us, we just end up damaging and hurting ourselves.”
He also spoke to the more base human tendency to ignore the darker aspects of existence and nationhood, pronouncing: “just as all people have shadows, every society and nation, too, has shadows”, and “if there are bright, shining aspects, there will definitely be a counterbalancing dark side. If there’s a positive, there will surely be a negative on the reverse side.”
Murakami also had some choice words for critics and academics alike, whose analytical approach to literature he claims inhibits enjoyment of fiction.
“Often we see that the novels that critics rave about are ones readers don’t particularly like, but in many cases it’s because works that critics see as analytically excellent fail to win the natural empathy of readers.”
Keep following your unconscious mind Murakami! It seems to be working!
Featured image courtesy of The Spectator