Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami wore another hat Sunday as he made his debut as a radio show host, revealing he learned his style of writing by listening to music.
Murakami, 69, who runs a full marathon every year, introduced songs that he listens to while running and on other occasions in the 55-minute show titled "Murakami Radio," which was broadcast on 38 Japanese stations including Tokyo FM in the evening.
"Rather than learning techniques from someone else's novels, I tend to pay attention to rhythm, harmonies, free improvisation, and stuff like that (when I write)," Murakami said, highlighting the "physical" aspects of his writing style.
(Photo supplied by TOKYO FM)
Murakami is known for usually avoiding the public spotlight in Japan and it was a rare opportunity for his fans to hear him talking on-air.
The songs he played from his music collection included standards covered by rock musicians such as "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea" by George Harrison and "What a Wonderful World" by Joey Ramone.
He also played "Sky Pilot" by Eric Burdon and the Animals which was released at the height of the Vietnam War, mentioning the special feeling he had when he heard it on radio back then.
He said that music and running are essential components of his career in literature.
"It is difficult to continuously write long novels for a long period of time without a basic level of physical fitness," Murakami has said, according to the website of Tokyo FM. He has been running at least one full marathon every year.
"If your lower body gets stable (with long-distance running), it loosens up your upper body and then that helps you write well," he said on the program.
The author of many bestselling novels, who had opened a cafe for jazz enthusiasts in Tokyo while he was a student at Waseda University, also disclosed he initially had no intention of becoming a professional writer and was more interested in music.
His popular novel "Norwegian Wood" was named after a Beatles' song, and the story begins with a scene in which the main character hears the song as background music on an airplane.
Murakami also created a scene in which composer Leos Janacek's Sinfonietta is being played on a taxi radio at the opening of his novel "1Q84."
He ended the radio show saying it had been great fun and he hoped to have another opportunity to host one in the future.
Murakami's work has been translated into numerous languages and he has won several literary prizes, such as the Franz Kafka Prize in 2006, the Jerusalem Prize in 2009, and the Hans Christian Andersen Literature Award for 2016.