Has anyone read "1Q84" - Haruki Murakami


Just bought the book in Book-Off

Is it similar to “1984” by George Orwell? From what I have read online, it seems to both very similar and complete different… depending on what review you’re reading.


I bought the whole collection as a 3 in 1 deal a couple of months back and I’m still reading it (the english translation though), currently in the last book somewhere. It definitely has some references to 1984 in there (the title alone), the central theme is completely different to 1984 though in my opinion, but maybe I will see things in a new light once I reached the ending.

I DO have a hard time with this one though, much more than with his other works I’ve read. Never really keen on continuing it.

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Thanks there! I read a few of his other books too, but this will be the first one in Japanese.

Deliberate references are being made - Q sounds like きゅう, or in other words, 九.


1Q84 is the second (and third and fourth) book(s) I have read in Japanese. I found the style fairly easy to read, actually. It has a nice flow.
I didn’t see any reference to Orwell’s 1984, which I have also read. That was a very long time ago, though, so I might have missed them.


I read about 3/4ths of an English translation awhile ago and put it down. I’m a fan but this is probably my least favorite the books I’ve read by him. The characters are interesting enough but I think it consists of a lot of recycled themes from other stories that he has already published on top of a very meandering plot. I’m curious how others see it. A personal favorite of mine is “The Windup Bird Chronicle.”

Also, if you appreciate nuance rather than action in writing and want a challenge in Japanese, I’ve been reading 雨天炎天 which is Murakami’s travel diary when backpacking in Turkey and Greece in the 1990s. I’m not sure if it’s translated into English, but I think he has an excellent way of writing non-fiction as well.


I read it in english translation and absolutely hated it, although I’d previously been a fan of his work. It was one of the most misogynistic books I’ve ever read. But, it’s really stuck with me for a long time afterwards and things keep happening that remind me of it, so I’ve retrospectively developed a grudging respect for it as well.


Honestly I didn’t think this book to be more misogynistic than his other works. In my opinion Murakami has a very “old school japanese guy” attitude about women and the way he writes them. Maybe you feel that way because this book explores darker themes than his other works?

I wouldn’t say I hate the book(s), I do feel the same way about it making an impression on me and I’m finding myself regularly thinking about scenes and characters in the books. I definitely don’t enjoy it very much though.


Read the english translation years ago, but I really liked it. On the other hand I’ve had a harder time getting into his other work (Like the Wind-Up Bird Chronicle). Worth trying, I think.

It’s not similar to 1984 though (from what I remember, been a while since I read that too), so don’t go in expecting a similar type of book :stuck_out_tongue:


How so? I’ve never read him, I just know him and Stephen King are r/menwritingwomen’s favorite people to hate on.

If I had a penny for every time Murakami describes a woman as something along the lines of “she wasn’t typically beautiful, but there was something about her that drew you in.” :roll_eyes: I always read that as him trying to do the world a favour by not using “beautiful women” in his stories. But then he would always add “and she had GREAT BOOBS” and make it way worse.

I’m thinking of this especially in relation to Fuka-Eri, so I agree with you there.

To @Wol, personally I think there are better books (even of his) to use up your time. It’s just sliightly too long and uneventful, so I can’t even remember most of it to justify reading it. I suppose that opinion is redundant if you have already bought it though. :sweat_smile:


I brought the entire trilogy in one book last year and read it in about a week. I quiet enjoyed it, but I haven’t read any of his other books yet :frowning: Hopefully I’ll find the time soon.

Anyway, I think partly why I didn’t get bored of it was because it was effectively one book for me. Reading it fast probably helped. I can’t imagine reading a series like that in Japanese any time soon, though! Maybe one day… :wink:

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Read it more than a few years ago, so my memory is a bit hazy. To me it was one of those weirdly enticing series that you can’t help but read until the end, even if gets more and more disappointing with each passing book (kinda like Dune in that regard).


how advanced did you feel you were when you read it in japanese?

I read the trilogy in English - eventually. I didn´t find it as gripping as other books of his.
Even though I have now reached Level 60 I would still probably find it extremely difficult to read Murakami in the original Japanese but I would love to be able to one day. I wonder which one of his books I should try first in Japanese?

Somewhere just before advanced. I started reading it just before I sat the N1 for the first time, which I missed by 3 points. (I was successful my next attempt). I think a solid N2 would do.
Of course, it would also be possible below that level, but that means a serious increase in time spent looking up words and grammar points, which would feel way less comfortable.

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Ah, good :). I‘m probably not too far from that. I read bit from the first chapter at the store, and it didn’t feel like too much of a stretch. Recently finished preparing for the N2… But I have spent a lot of time reading books and things not geared towards the JLPT.

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I don’t think it’s darker than his other works (Underground is pretty dark!) but I found the whole idea of spoilers women assassinating men who had abused women to be a fundamentally male idea - addressing violence with violence. Plus having a woman referred to as ‘his older married girlfriend’ throughout really got annoying.


I read the first two - volumes? - of 1Q84 years ago, before I’d read any other, and didn’t like it! Eventually I came back to it and read the entire thing, and it’s a weird book. It’s got some of Murakami’s best writing I feel, and some of his worst, and in the end it evens out to a kind of averageness, except that the bad stuff sticks out more straightforwardly than the good stuff. So I’m still not really a fan of it, even if I know there are people out there who are huge fans of it. I don’t think it had all that much to do with 1984 either, though it’s been a while since I’ve read that.

Only book of his I’ve ever read is Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World in English (mostly because of its similarities to Haibane Renmei), though I did buy his book Sydney to read in Japanese (because I live in Sydney) but haven’t gotten around to it…