Is Haruki Murakami good for learners?

I’ve been browsing lots of japanese fiction and, after looking at Banana Yoshimoto and Otsuichi and others, I grabbed a Japanese book by Haruki Murakami. His newest book actually whose title has been translated as ‘Killing Commendatore’ but the book itself is not translated.

What struck me is the straightforward grammar! I found Murakami easier to read than other authors. Is this the case or am I getting this wrong? By the way, here is the first sentence of his new novel:

今日短い午睡から目覚めたとき、<顔のない男> が私の前二いた。

Even as a lvl15 I can get that someone woke up and found a faceless man in front of them. The next couple pages don’t have grammar that is more difficult than that.


My two cents: if it’s easy for you, go for it!

As a general language-learning rule, I’ve found, if a material is difficult, quit! If you are using a dictionary or straining to translate each sentence, it’s too hard. If you can automatically understand 95% or more without really thinking about it, it’s a good reading material. It may seem counter-intuitive, but for language learning I’ve found it’s actually a bad idea to challenge yourself. Go easy on yourself and you will find you learn a lot faster.

Of course, that’s just my personal experience and learning style, so take it with a grain of salt.

Good luck!

Personally, I feel like quite a few of his works are very good for learners. His writing style is rather simplistic. It’s more the surrealist topics that could make it occasionally a little difficult to understand.

If you like Murakami, I feel they are great novels to get into reading novels with. I tend to dislike his writing style in general but I recently read his「世界の終りとハードボイルド・ワンダーランド」and it’s the first Murakami work I’ve ended up liking! Would definitely recommend if you’re into sci-fi weirdness :slight_smile:

You mentioned Yoshimoto as well and her novels are very simplistic. If you’d like easy novels check out her works, like Kitchen, as well.

Of course it’s all down to personal level. The best thing to do is check out the book on amazon JP or some sort of book site so you can read a little preview of the book yourself and gauge the level before you jump and buy it. Good luck!


I’ve only read it in English, but that is also my favorite. :slight_smile: I cried at the end. :cry:

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Oh man the tears couldn’t be stopped and I loved it.

From what I’ve heard Murakami doesn’t help with reading other Japanese fiction that much because his style is so different and influenced by the west. But it’s still Japanese, so better than not reading at all.

Nah, all authors have varying styles so think of it like that. It’s like Steinbeck vs. Dickens not like Hemingway vs. Joyce or something extreme like that. Yes he is influenced by the west but it is not incredibly different to the point it isn’t average Japanese. The language he uses is fairly normal and standard (it’s the content that gets weird). It definitely helps with reading other novels in Japanese. This is from having read several of his works in Japanese and hundreds of other novels in Japanese. There are way more authors out there that have styles out of wack.

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