Emma Brockes “Haruki Murakami: 'I took a gamble and survived' “ http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/oct/14/haruki-murakami-1q84
To Murakami, built like a little bull, it's a question of strength. "It's physical. If you keep on writing for three years, every day, you should be strong. Of course you have to be strong mentally, also. But in the first place you have to be strong physically. That is a very important thing. Physically and mentally you have to be strong."
ここで重要なのは彼が自らのことを「一種のサヴァイヴァー」と認識していることか。そういえば、映画『ノルウェイの森』を観て、これって一言でいえばmaking of a survivorだろうと思ったのだった*3。
Elements of Murakami's background are mysterious, even to him. He can't say why he decided to become a writer. It merely struck him one day, out of the blue, while watching a baseball game and having never had the slightest inclination in that direction. He was in his late 20s, running the jazz bar – he called it Peter Cat, after his pet. It was 1978. His period of rebellion was more or less over. He had grown up in the 1960s, the only child of a university professor and his homemaker wife and, along with the rest of his generation, rejected the course he was expected to take. He married straight out of university and instead of pursuing further studies, borrowed money to open the jazz bar and indulge his love of music. All around him his friends rebelled, too. Some killed themselves, something Murakami often writes about. "They are gone," he says. "It was a very chaotic time, and I'm still missing them. So sometimes I feel very strange to become 63 years old. I feel myself as a kind of survivor. Every time I think about them, I have some feeling that I have to live, I have to live very strong. Because I don't want to spend years of my life… it should be the very purpose, life. Because I survived, I have obligations to give fully. So, every time I write my fiction, from time to time I think of the deceased. Friends."
Looking back, he sees how precarious his own situation was. He was heavily in debt, working long hours in the bar with his wife, unsure of his future. "In 1968 or 69, anything could happen. It was so exciting, but at the same time, it was risky. The bets were so big. If you can win, you could get big bets, but if you lose, you are lost."
He took a gamble with the bar?
"Aaaaargh," says Murakami. "Marriage is where I took that gamble! I was 20 or 21. I didn't know anything of the world. I was stupid. Innocent. It's a kind of a gamble. With my life. But I survived. Anyway."
His wife, Yoko Takahashi, is his first reader. The novel that came out of his brainwave at the baseball game was called Hear The Wind Sing and won a new writers' prize in Japan. For a while he continued to run the bar while writing and it was essential to his progress, he says: "I had my jazz club and I had enough money. So I didn't have to write for my living. That is very important." When his novel Norwegian Wood sold more than three million copies in Japan, Murakami had no need to carry on with the bar, although he sometimes has a vision of a parallel existence in which he had stayed in that life. He is not convinced he would have been any less happy.
He writes intuitively, without a plan. His latest novel came to him while sitting in traffic in Tokyo. What if he got out on the gridlocked freeway and went down the emergency exit; would the course of his life change? "That is the starting point. I have a kind of premonition it's going to be a big book. It's going to be very ambitious. That's what I knew. I wrote the novel Kafka On The Shore, maybe five or six years ago and was waiting for the new book to come; it came. It has come. I knew it was going to be a big project. It's just a feeling."
(…) Most of Murakami's characters had unhappy childhoods, not coincidentally, he says. Nothing dramatic happened when he was growing up. And yet, he says, "I had a feeling I was kind of abused. It's because my parents had hoped that this child should be like this; I was not." He laughs. "So they expected me to get good marks at school, but I didn't. I didn't like to study too long. I just wanted to do what I wanted to do. I'm very consistent. They expected me to go to a good school and get a job at Mitsubishi or something like that. But I didn't do that. I wanted to be independent. So I opened up a jazz club and got married when I was a university student. They were kind of unhappy about that."
How was it expressed?
"They were just disappointed in me. It's tough on a kid to have that disappointment. I think they are nice people, but still. I was injured. I remember that feeling, still. I wanted to be a good kid for them, but I couldn't be. Myself, I don't have any kids. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I'd had children. I cannot imagine it. I'm not so happy as a kid, and I don't know if I could be happy as a father. I have no idea."
How, then, did he find the confidence to do what he wanted?
"Confidence; as a teenager? Because I knew what I loved. I loved to read; I loved to listen to music; and I love cats. Those three things. So, even though I was an only kid, I could be happy because I knew what I loved. Those three things haven't changed from my childhood. I know what I love, still, now. That's a confidence. If you don't know what you love, you are lost."
He was in Honolulu earlier this year when the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan. It has changed the country, he says. "People lost their confidence. We had been working so hard, after the end of the war. For 60 years. The richer we became, the happier we become. But at the end, we didn't get happy, however hard we worked. And the earthquake came, and so many people had to be evacuated, to abandon their houses and homeland. It's a tragedy. And we were proud of our technology, but our nuclear power plant turned out to be a nightmare. So people started to think, we have to change drastically the way of life. I think that is a big turning point in Japan."
He likens it to 9/11, which, he says, changed the course of world history. From a novelist's perspective it is a "miraculous event", too improbable to be true. "When I see those videos of the two planes crashing into the buildings, it seems like a miracle to me. It's not politically correct to say that it's beautiful, but I have to say that there is a kind of beauty in it. It's awful, it's a tragedy, but still there is a beauty in it. It seems too perfect. I cannot believe it happened, really. Sometimes I wonder if those two planes hadn't crashed into the building, the world would be so different from what it is now."
*1:See also http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20090402/1238654276 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20090806/1249529743 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20091230/1262151616 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20100212/1265942173 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20100416/1271392116 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20100510/1273459093 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20110313/1300035730
*2:Peter Beaumont “Haruki Murakami's cult trilogy 1Q84 poised to take the west by storm”http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/sep/10/haruki-murakami-trilogy-1q84 Mentioned in http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20110911/1315756788