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Murakami to donate materials to alma mater

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Haruki Murakami, right, and then Waseda University President Kaoru Kamata at a press conference on Sunday.

The Yomiuri ShimbunNovelist Haruki Murakami, 69, has announced that he will donate or entrust books, manuscripts, vinyl records and other personal possessions to his alma mater Waseda University in Tokyo.

The university said it would start receiving the collection sometime from next academic year and plans to use the items to establish an international research center on Murakami’s literature. Murakami made the announcement at a press conference on Sunday, which he said was his first in Japan in 37 years.

“I’d be more than happy if these materials are of use to Japanese and foreign people who want to study my work,” Murakami said Sunday at a press conference held in the university.

Murakami has been interested in entrusting his materials to a university or other academic institution for the purpose of literature study and cultural exchange. He has consulted with Waseda since around March. Materials to be donated or entrusted to the university will include books that Murakami authored, their translations, reviews of the books, manuscripts and more than 10,000 music records that he collected. Murakami and the university will decide on such details as the number of items and work schedules.

The university will organize the materials and manage them as the “Haruki Murakami Collection.” It also plans to establish a research center near the university’s Theatre Museum, where Murakami used to go when he was a student.

On Sunday, Murakami attended the press conference with Kaoru Kamata, who was the university’s president until Sunday, and new President Aiji Tanaka who assumed the post Monday.

As a result of his almost four-decade career as a novelist, Murakami said: “My original manuscripts, letters and related articles are piled up so high, I can’t keep them in my house or office anymore. Since I don’t have a child, I don’t want them to be scattered around,” welcoming the university’s management of his materials.

“I hope the new facility will be a place of international exchange for casual interactions with literature and culture,” Murakami added.

He said he hopes to help establish a scholarship-type program or hold events such as a concert to play record albums in the future. “I’m willing to be involved in such activities,” he said.

Murakami enrolled in Waseda’s faculty of humanities and social science in 1968, married as a student, and graduated after seven years.

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