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The Haruki Murakami Library and Its Exploration of People's Stories

Discover the literary genius of Haruki Murakami at his namesake library in Tokyo, designed by Kengo Kuma. Advisor Robert Campbell reveals its exciting vision.



Robert Campbell, advisor to the library, stands in the first-floor gallery. The gallery features all of Murakami’s works, as well as various translations of these works. The wall in the back is adorned with Murakami’s illustration of the "Sheep Man." 

The Waseda International House of Literature Haruki Murakami Library recently celebrated its second anniversary. Advisor Robert Campbell shares the library's vision and operation.

Excerpts follow.

Murakami Haruki as the 'Trunk' of a Tree of Literary Experiences

The idea for the Waseda International House of Literature came about when Murakami Haruki donated various materials, including his works, records, writing materials, and more, to Waseda University. After three years of preparation, the library opened in October 2021. 

The library boasts translations of Murakami's works in over 50 languages. It is the best place in the world to study the author. There are also reading spaces, an audio room, and a café, for those who want to experience the library in other ways.

During the discussions for the library, Murakami had proposed a guiding philosophy: "Explore Your Stories, Speak Your Heart." We spoke to Robert Campbell, advisor to the library, who has been involved in its establishment from the start.

Bookshelf staircase leading up from the first basement floor to the first floor. Architect Kuma Kengo, who designed this staircase, says the design for it was based on the idea of a tunnel, which itself was inspired by Murakami's fiction.

Tell us more about the guiding philosophy of the Waseda International House of Literature, 'Explore Your Stories, Speak Your Heart.'

The world is full of stories. "Explore Your Stories" means reading and trying to understand these stories, and discussing them with other people. And among these stories, there are also stories that are unique to each of us, that we create on our own. They are the stories of each of our lives.

Campbell is a University Professor at Waseda University and an advisor to the Waseda International House of Literature. He says that while he does not specialize in the stimulating works of Murakami, he wants to — as a scholar of literature — make the library a comfortable place to be.

I'd like this place to have the sort of open, accepting atmosphere that encourages people to deepen their understanding of their own stories, enrich them, or perhaps even rewrite them. In doing so, I think what's important is creating small-scale connections between people. 

Continue reading the full story on Tokyo Updates.


The Haruki Murakami Library is located at 1-6-1 Nishiwaseda, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, on the Waseda University, Waseda Campus in Tokyo. Check hours and details before visiting. 

Interview and writing: by Imaizumi Aiko
Photos: by Tonomura Seiji
Translation: by Amitt

Tokyo Updates is an online magazine of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. It features the latest fresh perspectives on Tokyo developments, with contributions from prominent figures, journalists, and independent writers of diverse nationalities. Focusing on Tokyo life, it includes features on leading SDG initiatives and urban challenges.


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