BRYAN WALSH “Japan's Prodigal Novelist Returns” http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1651217,00.html
The studied disconnection from the world that has made Murakami's early work so beloved of the fashionable literati — and the lonely young — has receded. In fact, responsibility is his animating principle these days. "I have a gift to write about these things," Murakami says of 1997's Underground, his oral history of the Tokyo subway gas attacks and a book he sees as a career turning point. "At the same time, I have a responsibility." Though he says he doesn't want to talk about Japanese politics, he returns to the subject again and again throughout a 212-hour conversation, bushy eyebrows bobbing as he worries about "politicians who rewrite history," and the growing tendency in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Japan to forget about wartime atrocities. Japanese history has always been in the background of his works — and his best novel, 1994's Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, dissected the groupthink that led Japan into a catastrophic war — but now he wants to act. "Before, I wanted to be an expatriate writer," he admits. "But I am a Japanese writer. This is my soil and these are my roots. You cannot get away from your country." Though he offers no specifics, Murakami hints that his next novel will address Japanese nationalism.