Tokyo, Oct 1 (EFE).- Tokyo’s Waseda University, the alma mater of author Haruki Murakami, on Friday inaugurated a library dedicated to its famous alumnus, displaying a collection of his work in over 50 languages, books inspired him and even his favorite music records.
Situated in the main campus of the university, the library has nearly 3,000 books, including the first editions of Murakami’s novels and international titles such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” along with manuscripts and personal documents already donated to the university.
Richi Sakakibara, professor and the associate director of the library, told EFE that the collection was not yet complete and the number of titles was set to rise.
It was Murakami who had decided to donate his work, but the university came up with proposal to place it in a new library, Sakakibara said.
The novelist welcomed the project, expressing hope that the library would become a center for international exchange that would contribute to literary debate and knowledge.
The facility includes a music room to listen to Murakami’s selection of songs, a radio recording station – which the author has himself used a number of times – an exhibition hall and a lab for seminars and courses.
The library is situated in a six-floor building remodeled by Kengo Kuma, an architect famous for coming up with iconic structures such as the new olympic stadium, and is dominated by the use of wood in his signature style.
The ground floor has a cafeteria, a grand piano and a replica of Murakami’s study, two other floors are open to the public for reading and other activities, while two more are meant to be used by researchers and are currently closed. The top floor consists of offices.
Around 30 people showed up at the facility on the inaugural day, despite rain and the effects of a typhoon.
The pandemic has also led to the number of daily visitors being restricted, with people required to book in advance in order to use the catalogue.
Born in 1949, Murakami – a former student of theater and owner of a jazz bar in Tokyo – is one of the most internationally famous Japanese authors.
The Waseda International House of Literature, informally known as the Haruki Murakami library, is situated next to the Tsubouchi Memorial Theater Museum, where the author spent much of his student life.
Murakami does not have any children and the decision to donate his work to the university is a way to protect his legacy, the author confessed while talking to local media outlets. EFE