It will come as no surprise to fans of Haruki Murakami that he has a passion for music. Pick up any of his novels and turn to a random chapter and there’s a very high chance that music will be mentioned in some way or another, whether it be in passing or through a direct mention of a specific song.
Take Kafka on the Shore for example. In Chapter 34 alone, which is only nine pages long, two different classical musicians are mentioned, along with three different artists. In just one chapter, Murakami provides brief history lessons on Beethoven and Haydn, going into specifics about musicians who later performed their works, including the Million-Dollar Trio (Rubinstein, Heifetz and Feuermann); the Oistrach Trio, who did renditions of Beethoven’s Archduke Trio; and Pierre Fournier, who did a rendition of Haydn’s first cello concerto.
Music serves as a means of transition within many of Murakami’s works. Not only does it help characters to relax, but often times, music generates inspiration and transformations in identity. Using the example from Kafka on the Shore, classical music in the form of the Archduke Trio helps to motivate Hoshino, a young man who has no real purpose in life. After listening to Beethoven’s classical piece, Hoshino experiences a revival of sorts, where he not only learns to appreciate music, but begins to question his life choices, whereupon he decides to make a change for the better.
Despite the strong presence of classical music in Kafka on the Shore, Murakami’s works include music of various genres with jazz, rock and, of course, classical, being the top picks. In fact, due to the large presence of music within all of his works, you can find detailed playlists with song mentions and locations for each book over on his website.
As if the presence of music within his works wasn’t enough of an indicator, Murakami’s website features a number of other resources that show just how strong his love of music really is. It’s a little-known fact that Murakami’s favorite music genre is Jazz and that he owned a Jazz bar at one point in his life. Pair that with the interactive image of his work desk that includes a picture of his record collection, which includes over 10,000 vinyls and you will realize that music is a passion for Murakami.
If Murakami listens to music while he works, it’s no wonder that there’s a playlist of over 3,000 songs taken from his personal record collection, the majority of which are jazz. If you include all of the playlists included on his website (with entirely different music), with eleven in total, Murakami fans are in for a treat.
200 Murakami-approved songs for your listening pleasure
Whenever you find yourself struggling to find something to listen to, take a look at Murakami’s vast collection of music – it’s sure to inspire you. Not only that, but you might find something new to enjoy in the process.