■Immerse yourself in the world of Haruki Murakami Waseda University International House of Literature (The Haruki Murakami Library)

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    • Tokyo
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  • Update date

    • 2022-04-28

▲Photo: Courtesy of Waseda University

 "The Waseda International House of Literature (The Haruki Murakami Library)" is a facility for storing and and presenting works (Japanese and English editions) by the novelist Haruki Murakami, as well as related materials, records, etc. donated or deposited by the author.

 Inside you will find a recreation of his study room, a gallery lounge and café displaying his works, an audio room where you can listen to his collection of jazz records, and more. So, let's take a look inside!

The symbolic spot "The Stair Bookshelf"

 The stair bookshelf greets you the moment you enter the building. Designed by Kengo Kuma, like an archway the staircase invites you into the world of Haruki.

 While the lowest steps of the stair bookshelf feature easy-to-read themes such as "eating" and "running", as you approach the top of the stairs, more spiritually themed books are displayed, showing all of Murakami's key works. The placement of books can be seen as a way to catch the interest of younger readers, starting with the easy-to-read themes and ending up with the books focusing on the inner workings of humans. Letting people sit on the stairs and read is also for this reason.

▲The most popular space in the library "The Stair Bookshelf"

The gallery lounge (1F) features Murakami works you won't see anywhere else

 First editions are on display, while editions from different years and translations (from over 20 countries) line the walls, and you can freely read them at your table.

▲It is interesting to see how translated versions of the same title may have very different bindings depending on the country.

▲Photo: Courtesy of Waseda University

▲The wall features Murakami's drawing of The Sheep Man from "A wild sheep chase". Do you want to have a chat with The Sheep Man? Photo: Courtesy of Waseda University

■The audio room (1F) where you can listen to Murakami's beloved jazz music

 This is a room where you can relax on the sofa while listening to music, including jazz records from when Murakami was running a jazz café. It can be fun to close your eyes and recall Murakami's works, or listening to records while imagining what might be Murakami's favorite jazz.

Photo: Courtesy of Waseda University

Café "Orange Cat" (B1F)

 The café is named after the orange cat Murakami kept, and just like Murakami was running a jazz café in his student days, the café is run by students gaining practical experience. We highly recommend the café's eponymous cream soda with orange peel, the Orange Cat. The sandwich Wonder Land, with cucumber and roast pork, and POUR OVER coffee made from the café's original beans, are also worth a taste.

▲The grand piano from Murakami's jazz café stands in a corner of the lounge.

The outdoor space of the café with its abundant nature, is a nice atmosphere for a meal!

■From Murakami's own thoughts of this Library: "Just like breathing"

  "Learning is like breathing. Whether it's in a classroom or out of one, just like breathing, we naturally and without thinking about it take in new knowledge. I sincerely hope this humble library liberates you from school, borders, and becomes "a place of learning where it is easy to breathe"." This quote is written in both English and Japanese on the wall of the 1st floor gallery lounge.

▲The building was renovated from the former 4th Building near the east gate of the Waseda campus.     Photo: Courtesy of Waseda University

Location/closest station to Waseda University International House of Literature (The Haruki Murakami Library)

1-6-1 Nishi-Waseda, Shinjuku, Tokyo

     Closest station: 7 mins walk from Waseda Station on the Tokyo Metro Tozai Line

     Contact number: 03-3204-4614

     Opening hours: 10:00-17:00

     Closed: Wednesdays

     Free entry, advance reservations necessary

      *Please check the latest schedule on the website.