Haruki Murakami is planning an archive on his Japanese alma mater, which will contain the draft of his best-selling novels, his translation work and his massive music collection, a personal passion that has been an important part of his stories.
"I'm more than happy if these materials can contribute in any way to those who want to study my works," said the Japanese author at a press conference with officials at Waseda University where the library and archive will be hosted.
"I hope there would be a place for cultural and positive exchanges," added Murakami.
Now 69 and one of the world's most popular and celebrated actors, Murakami began writing after Waseda 1975's exams while driving a jazz bar in Tokyo.
His debut, Hear the wind song, came out 1979, and the romantic novel 1987 Norwegian wood was his first bestseller and established him as a young literary star. His latest novel, Killing Commendatore, recently met bookstores.
Media-shy Murakami said last Sunday the event was his first formal press conference at home in 37 years. Although he interacted with fans on several occasions this year, including hosting his radio program twice and appearing in front of fans at a book event in New York, Murakami agreed on Sunday to constitute solely cameras.
The archive project came out earlier this year when Murakami offered to donate its collection of materials, which has grown so much in the last 40 years that he runs out of storage in the home and office.
"I have no children to take care of them and I did not want these resources to be spread and lost when I die," he said.
"I'm grateful that I can keep them in an archive."
Waseda officials said the data was still being prepared, but a shared archive would begin in 2019. University president Kaoru Kamata said he wanted to make the library a target for Murakami fans and researchers of Japanese culture and literature from around the world.
Initial archives should contain draft Norwegian wood as he wrote by hand on laptops while traveling in Europe, as well as his own translations of novels written by his favorite author, including Raymond Carver, J.D. Salinger and Scott Fitzgerald.
Murakami translates professional English-language novels into Japanese, but he says he likes so much that it's almost his hobby rather than working. He said that translation has given him different perspectives and made a big difference to what he writes.
"I strongly believe that translation work has helped me grow. I could have choked if I was only left in Japanese literature," he said.
Murakami said he wants to see the library stimulate interaction and cultural exchange among students, researchers and others interested in his books and Japanese literature.
Ideally he said he would make it a place like his studio, where he writes stories while listening to today's choice of music and maybe having a concert at times.
He said that the library and the archive will evolve in the coming years as he takes in more material.
"I'm still alive and I have to use some of them," says Murakami. – AP