IIt might be time to stop calling Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami “Lonely”. In recent years, he has become a radio show host, a kind of dying literary uncle, and now a fashion icon, having collaborated on his own line of t-shirts at Uniqlo.
The eight graphic tees, which will go on sale in mid-March, feature all of the author’s favorite things: cats, birds, records, men sitting in bars (but no ears, for which he has shown fascination). Charmingly Murakami has given a long interview to Uniqlo about her own fashion choices. “I try to wear civilian clothes, the simpler the better. Jeans and T-shirt, with a sweatshirt or sweater. Since I don’t need to show up at an office, I can wear whatever I want. But I always end up wearing the same thing. I’m not sure I can say why this is the case, ”he reveals, somewhat unrevealingly.
From why he always wore ties when he lived in Italy (“you’d wear these dirty looks if you weren’t”) to what makes a person stylish (“I think it’s great when someone can make everyday clothes look comfortable “) Murakami has more to say about fashion than you might realize. Perhaps the most intriguing revelation is his habit of carrying a spare pair of pants with him, getting the idea from novelist Komimasa Tanaka, who shared his love for shorts.
“I was once invited to a traditional restaurant in Ginza, but when I showed up dressed like this, the host stopped me at the door and said, ‘No shorts allowed.’ … Fortunately, I always pack a loose pair of pants in my bag for this very situation, so I put them over my shorts and we were back to normal. The host couldn’t believe what they were seeing, ”Murakami said.
For the crowds whose appetite for details about Murakami’s wardrobe isn’t satiated by the Uniqlo interview, Murakami T: The T-Shirts I Love will be released in November. In it, the “famous lonely novelist” (ahem) will show off his t-shirts, “which include gems from the Springsteen show on Broadway in New York, from the Beach Boys concert in Honolulu to the T-shirt that inspired the beloved tale Tony Takitani.” says US editor Knopf. “Accompanied by short and frank essays that have been translated into English for the first time, these photographs reveal much about Murakami’s wonderfully eccentric and multifaceted personality.”
Murakami writing about running was wonderful, and the idea of the superstar author donning his backpack pants outside a posh restaurant is utterly lighthearted, so the ode to the tee from the perennial Nobel laureate is sure to be another treasure.
When asked if he still sees himself as a private person, given that he has donated a vast collection of his belongings, including tens of thousands of records, to Tokyo. Waseda University, which is now building the Haruki Murakami Library, Murakami said no.
“My position has gradually changed over the years. I used to be content doing my own thing, but as I grew older and gained a moderate degree of social position, I began to feel that I needed to live up to my responsibilities, ”he says. “After all the years I’ve spent living abroad, I can call myself a private person and say that I can be anywhere, but more and more a part of me wants to embrace my identity as a Japanese author. That growing sense of urgency, the need to settle in this position, was another motivation for creating the library. “
There you go. Murakami: not so lonely after all.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism