Back
 AJC  Vol.9 No.4 , December 2021
Haruki Murakami and the Transition of Modern Culture —From the Perspective of Young Readers in East Asian Cities
Abstract: Since the end of the 1990s, common phenomena can be seen in the youth culture of East Asian cities. The works they like to read have changed. Literature is no longer the most popular field for them. The number of people who like manga, animation, light novels, etc. is constantly increasing. And the way they read texts has also changed. If it can be said that most of the previous readers pay attention to interpreting the author’s thoughts or appreciating the storyline and style, many young readers now pay attention to the character. This means that they do not regard the work as an organic whole, but as a combination of several elements (=modules), and they appreciate each module separately. They also store the modules in their mind as a database, and take it out to rebuild the module freely, and then appreciate it again. This change has also brought about changes in readers’ request for works. If it can be said that former readers seek to get in touch with human, social, and historical truth through works, young readers now seek to communicate with fellow-friends through works. Behind this phenomenon are changes in the mood of young people. They feel a certain barrier to society, and many people have a sense of loneliness, blockage, and emptiness. It is not simple change in the trend from literature to subculture. It means the fundamental changes that modern culture has faced since its formation in the 19th century. The way Haruki Murakami (村上春樹)’s fans read his works is a typical example of the changes in literary reading. They resonate with the sense of loneliness, blockage, and emptiness of the work. In a sense, it can be said that they extract the part that matches their feelings (=a certain kind of module) from the work, appreciate and share it. What they seek is not to get in touch with a certain sense of truth, not to think about issues and lead to solutions through literature, but to feel sympathy and share comfort. From those points, their focus and request for works are different from those of previous literature. Not only their reading method but also their activity is similar with the subculture fans. For example, exchange activities between fans are active. Judging from the situation of the fans of Haruki Murakami above, the readership of literary works seems to have begun to change. Haruki Murakami may be one of the very few writers who can adapt to such changes in the readership. Perhaps this is an important reason for his popularity all over the world. To this point, Haruki Murakami, like subculture, represents a major turning point in modern culture.
Cite this paper: Takumasa, S. (2021) Haruki Murakami and the Transition of Modern Culture
—From the Perspective of Young Readers in East Asian Cities. Advances in Journalism and Communication, 9, 130-143. doi: 10.4236/ajc.2021.94011.
References

[1]   Azuma, H. (東浩紀) (2001). Animalizing Postmodern—Japanese Society as Seen from Otaku [動物化するポストモダン-オタクから見た日本社会]. Kodansha Shinsho [講談社新書].

[2]   Honda, H. (本田秀夫) (2013). Autism Spectrum [自閉症スペクトラム]. Softbank Shinsho [ソフトバンク新書].

[3]   Ito, S. (伊藤整) (1959). The Method of Novel [小説の方法] (Revised Edition). Shinchosha.

[4]   Komori, Y. (小森陽一) (2006). Murakami Haruki Study—A Closer Reading of “Kafka on the Shore” [村上春樹論―「海辺のカフカ」を精読する]. Heibonsha Shinsho [平凡社新書].

[5]   Manovich, L. (2001). The Language of New Media. The MIT Press.

[6]   Murakami, H. (1997). The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. Book Two: Bird as Prophet [ねじまき鳥クロニクル. 第2部: 予言する鳥編]. Shincho Bunko [新潮文庫].

[7]   Murakami, H. (村上春樹) (1979). Hear the Wind Sing [風の歌を聴け] (Kindle Version). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

[8]   Murakami, H. (村上春樹) (1987). Norwegian Wood [ノルウェイの森] (Kindle Version). Vintage International Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

[9]   Murakami, H. (村上春樹) (1991). Dance Dance Dance [ダンス・ダンス・ダンス]. Kodansha Bunko [講談社文庫].

[10]   Murakami, H. (村上春樹) (1992). South of the Border, West of the Sun [国境の南、太陽の西] (Kindle Version). Vintage International. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

[11]   Murakami, H. (村上春樹) (1999). Haruki Murakami Goes to Meet Hayao Kawai[河合隼雄に会いにいく]. Shincho Bunko [新潮文庫].

[12]   Murakami, H. (村上春樹) (2009). What I Talk About When I Talk About Running [走ることについて語るときに僕の語ること] (Kindle Version). Vintage International, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

[13]   Senno, T. (2020). Where Are We Going Now? Subculture in East Asian Cities and the Heart of Youth. Cultural Studies, 34, 208-234.

[14]   Sugiyama, Y. (杉山康彦) (1976). The Art of Language [ことばの藝術]. Taishukan Shoten.

 
 
Top