The Japanese author’s snub signals the arrival of cooler weather, according to Japanese netizens.

When it comes to Japanese authors, none have had quite the impact on the world like Haruki Murakami has. Known for international best-sellers like Norwegian Wood and Kafka on the Shore, Murakami is one of the most celebrated Japanese authors of all time.

His books have sold millions of copies all over the world, and his work has been translated into fifty languages. Yet despite his impressive record, there is still one thing eluding the Japanese author — a Nobel Prize in Literature.

This year marks the 16th year that the prestigious award has eluded Murakami’s grasp, as the 2021 Prize for Literature was awarded to Tanzanian author Abdulrazak Gurnah earlier this week.

While Murakami himself probably won’t be too put out to have not won the award, the continuous snubbing of one of their greatest authors by the Nobel Committee is something of a sore point here in Japan.

Every year, before the Nobel Prize in Literature winner is announced, Murakami fans — called Harukists — gather together, clutching copies of their favourite books, ready to celebrate their favourite author’s big win.

▼ In this video from 2020, Harukists await the results in a cafe in Hyogo Prefecture, where Murakami spent his childhood.

Nobel Prize in Literature nominations aren’t revealed to the public until 50 years have passed (so in reality, Murakami may not have ever actually been in the running to receive the award), but that doesn’t stop Harukists from holding out hope for the big win.

Sadly, every year they end up disappointed, and even major news outlets have shown their dissatisfaction in the past.

▼ “What do you mean, Bob Dylan won??” — Harukists back in 2016

It’s gotten to the point now where yet another Nobel Prize going to someone other than Murakami has become a bit of a tradition, with people likening it to the arrival of a new season.

“Murakami lost? I guess autumn is just around the corner then,” netizens joked when they heard the news.

Others online commented on how a Nobel Prize may have eluded him once more, but his favourite baseball team, the Yakult Swallows, are doing pretty well in their league at the moment — every cloud has a silver lining!

”At this point, Murakami is so used to losing that he’s probably more invested in the Yakult Swallows results than whether or not he’s won.”
“The Yakult Swallows are top of their league because Murakami sacrificed his Nobel Prize chances.”
“Always the bridesmaid, never the Nobel Literature bride.”
“Even the hardcore Harukists have started to give up hope that he’ll ever win.”

It wasn’t just Japanese netizens commenting on the topic, though — Harukists all over the world had something to say.

And while Twitter is keen to share their thoughts on Murakami’s loss, don’t expect to see the author himself sharing what he thinks about it online, as he is not a fan of social media at all. He’s got plenty to say about other topics though, like ‘What is the meaning of life?’

Source: Nikkei Sports via Hachima Kiko, Twitter (1, 2)
Featured image: Pakutaso
Top image: Pakutaso
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