, born Murakami Ryunosuke in Sasebo
, Nagasaki Prefecture
, 1952. He enrolled in the Musashino University of Art
, but soon dropped out in favor of becoming a writer
Murakami's first novel, Almost Transparent Blue (限りなく透明に近いブルー), was a bestseller, winning the coveted Akutagawa Prize in 1976 and setting his career into motion. Unlike previous works of Japanese literature, it was disturbingly graphic and grotesque, a quasi-fictional account of the hedonism that went on around Yokota Air Base in the 1970's. It depicted drug use, homosexuality, and other previously taboo subjects as openly as The Great Gatsby depicted wealth. Murakami directed a film version in 1980 that starred Mitamura Kunihiko and Nakayama Mari, but the novel was not accessible to English readers until 1990, when Kodansha published a translation.
His other works:
- All Right, My Friend (大丈夫、マイフレンド, 1983, also a film)
- Coin Locker Babies (コインロッカー・ベイビーズ, 1984, translated to English 1995)
- Raffles Hotel (ラッフルズホテル, 1989, also a film)
- Run, Takahashi! (走れ!タカハシ, 1989, later became a film called Run, Ichiro!)
- Fascism of Illusions and Love (愛と幻想のファシズム, 1990)
- 69 (1990, translated to English 1993)
- Topaz (トパーズ, 1991, also a film known in the US as Tokyo Decadence)
- All Men Are Disposable (すべての男は消耗品である, 1993)
- Ibiza (イビザ, 1995)
- Ecstasy (エクスタシー, 1995)
- The World Five Minutes Later (五分後の世界, 1997)
- What Could We Have Bought With That Money? (あの金で何が買えたか, 1999)
- Line (ライン, 2001)
- Exodus to the Land of our Dreams (希望の国のエクソダス, 2002)
...and many others. If you go into a Japanese bookstore and see an entire shelf of books that seem to be written by the same guy, chances are you're looking at the Murakami Ryu section. He has a pay site called Tokyo Decadence, at www.t-decadence.com.
In Western literary circles, Murakami Ryu is often compared to/confused with Murakami Haruki, an equally famous Japanese novelist. As far as I'm concerned, their styles and subject matter are like night and day, but your mileage may vary.