Family Ties : 親子関係

Kyoto Univ
ODAKANE Fuji

Kyoto University : 京都大学

Before the war Haruki's father was a promising student at Kyoto University; then he was drafted into the Army, to fight in Chaina.

>Mouseover for the image of Kōmyō-ji 光明寺, the head temple of one of the Shingon sect Murakami Chiaki belonged; Wikipedia Japan says this is Chiaki's home, but other source [the bulletin of Kōyō Gakuin where Chiaki taught] notes the home was An'yō-ji 安養寺in Kyoto.

Murakami’s father, Chiaki, was the son of a Kyoto Buddhist priest, and was himself a priest for some years in the old family’s temple, and his mother, Miyuki was the daughter of an Osaka merchant. Haruki was an only one child, and he suggests this might explain his tendency towards introversion.

Miyuki also was a high-school teacher and even after she quitted her job when she married, the young Haruki would often hear his parents discussing eighth-century poetry or medieval war takes at the dinner table. “Throughout my teens I became hate ‘Japanese literature’ and ‘teachers’,” Haruki said in a conversation with Kawai Hayao, a Japanese Jungian psychologist.

In an interview in the September 1992 issue of Monthly PLAYBOY Haruki said, “My Father had dominated our family,” said Haruki. “Japan is a country ruled by men. I hate the situation. My wife and I work together as an equal partner,” he said in other place, “I had a happy childhood because my parents loved me. But, when I turned eighteen or nineteen years, I was no longer happy. Maybe my father was too strong. Eventually I found out my way of life that satisfied me.”

“Once, when Murakami was a child, he heard his father say something deeply shocking about his experience in China. He cannot remember what it was…But he remembers being terribly distressed,” Rubin wrote in his book―Haruki said the reason for his refusal to Chinese food could be due to this incident.

Haruki referred this experience in a speech after The Jerusalem Prize for the Freedom of the Individual in Society awarding ceremony in 2009:
“My father passed away last year at the age of ninety. He was a retired teacher and a part-time Buddhist priest. When he was in graduate school in Kyoto [Kyoto University; one of the best universities in Japan ranked with Tokyo University], he was drafted into the army and sent to fight in China. As a child born after the war, I used to see him every morning before breakfast offering up long, deeply-felt prayers at the small Buddhist altar in our house. One time I asked him why he did this, and he told me he was praying for the people who had died in the battlefield. He was praying for all the people who died, he said, both ally and enemy alike. Staring at his back as he knelt at the altar, I seemed to feel the shadow of death hovering around him."

“My father died, and with him he took his memories, memories that I can never know. But the presence of death that lurked about him remains in my own memory. It is one of the few things I carry on from him, and one of the most important.”

Family Outings

Itō Grill

itō Grill : 伊藤グリル

The Murakamis often visit Itō Grill (伊藤グリル) famous for its grilled steak, a ship's cook Mr Itō in 1923. >Mouseover for a dish image.

On the other hand, Haruki’s parents tended to be politically liberal and, although they could be strict with him, overall they allowed him great freedom.

Chiaki said they gave Haruki almost everything he wanted except a pony Haruki wanted.

Haruki said they lived an average circumstance of life, but I can say their living level was above average. When I tried to identify the location of the Murakamis’ third house from old maps, I intentionally set aside the biggest site at first, since I thought a teacher could not afford such an estate although Japanese teachers have enjoyed higher social poison and income. If they had lived in America, they would have had a pony Haruki wanted.

The family often went see the movies and enjoyed dinning out in Nishinomiya or Kobe. They used to go a fine and expensive old restaurant in Kobe Itō Grill (伊藤グリル) famous for its grilled steak―they are still in business. Haruki doesn’t prefer meats in general―he heavy emphasis on vegetables, low-fat Japanese dishes and few starches―but beefsteak is an exception.

—ODAKANE Fuji

Feature Story

  • Google Earth

    The Town :

    Let's start with the town, where Haruki grew up and his stories came from. The sea out in front, hills behind, and right next door, major port.

  • Odakane, Fuji for Cool Japan Illustrated

    Hanshinkan Boy : 阪神間少年

    Hanshinkan, the area between Osaka and Kobe, was a comfy place to spend Haruki's boyhood to the adolescent period.

  • Odakane, Fuji for Cool Japan Illustrated

    Junior High School Years : 中学時代

    Of his middle-school years, Murakami has written that all he remembers is being beaten by his teachers. He didn't like them and they didn't like him because he wouldn't study.

  • Odakane, Fuji for Cool Japan Illustrated

    Books and Music : 本と音楽

    Haruki was permitted to buy books on credit at the local bookstore, as long as he avoided comic books or trashy weekly magazines, and he became a voracious reader.

  • Odakane, Fuji for Cool Japan Illustrated

    High School Years : 高校時代

    Haruki would play Mahjongg almost every day, fool around with girls, spend hours in jazz cafés and cinemas, smoke, skip school, read novels during class, and so forth, but his grades were never terrible.

  • Odakane, Fuji for Cool Japan Illustrated

    Leaving Home : 街を離れる

    "The town has deep hold on me; almost all my memories are tied up with the place. Yet the spring I left town to enter university, I let out a sigh of relief from the bottom of my heart,"Haruki said in his novel.

  • Odakane, Fuji for Cool Japan Illustrated

    The River :

    "The road by the river had been one of my favorites. I could walk at the same speed as the river. I could feel it breathing. It was alive. The town belonged to the river from the very beginning, and it would always be the way."

  • Odakane, Fuji for Cool Japan Illustrated

    The Lost Sea : 失われた海

    In his novels and essays, Murakami expressed his deep emotional attachment to the sea that was close to him throughout his adolescence years.

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