There are concrete connections between Murakami and Radiohead. That is a fact. However, these concrete connections are not a be all and end all. It’s nice to know that they exist, but it be nice to think that, if they didn’t exist, there would still be grounds on which to build a comparative. In fact, I’m more interested in the invisible associations.
I’ll start, all the same, by briefly going through the concrete connections, in the order that I came across them (not necessarily the order in which they appeared):
- Connection 1. Summer 2003. I read in an English music magazine that Thom Yorke has read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. According to several Internet sources, this was first revealed in an interview around this time made by Rolling Stone magazine, but it is very possible that Yorke mentioned the fact in several interviews, as the book is cited as being an influence on Radiohead’s new album (Hail To The Thief).
- Connection 2. Early 2004. In his introduction to a book of short stories he has edited (Birthday Stories, published by Harvill in 2004) Murakami writes the following: ‘These days when I drive my car I put silver-coloured CDs by Radiohead or Blur into the stereo’. I feel a curious satisfaction when I first read this. It proves that both sides are aware of each other.
- Connection 3. Early 2005. Murakami’s 2002 novel Kafka on the Shore is at last published in English translation. There are two direct references to Radiohead, made by the main narrator of the story, 15 year old Kafka Tamura. They are, as follows:
- (from page 63) ‘In my room I jot down in my diary what I did that day, listen to Radiohead on my Walkman, read a little, and then it’s lights out at eleven.’
- (from page 394) ‘Since I ran away I’ve been listening to the same music over and over - Radiohead’s Kid A, Prince’s Greatest Hits.’
Best described as a Murakami detox support group, we're all fans of the quirkily brilliant Japanese author, Haruki Murakami, and writing about such things as films we've seen recently and books we're reading (not to mention meandering musings on the man's work, of course) helps us to pass time while waiting for the next book from Haruki-baby.