No Nobel for Haruki Murakami, while demand surges for winner Kazuo Ishiguro’s works in Japan

British author Kazuo Ishiguro holds a press conference in London on October 5, 2017 after being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Kazuo Ishiguro, the 62-year-old British writer of Japanese told British media that winning the 2017 Nobel Prize for Literature today was a "magnificent honour" and "flabbergastingly flattering". / AFP PHOTO / Ben STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

Tokyo: Japan had been pinning its hopes on its best-known novelist Haruki Murakami to win the Nobel Prize but eagerly claimed a link to the British winner, Kazuo Ishiguro with Japanese roots.

Known for his pensive philosophical novels, Haruki Murakami is Japan’s most internationally renowned author right now.

But it was not to be – since the Japanese born British writer, Kazuo Ishiguro was declared the winner instead.

The Japanese publisher of Nagasaki-born Kazuo Ishiguro said Friday it would republish eight of the British author’s books in translation, reporting “a huge number of orders” after he won the Nobel Literature Prize.

Ishiguro left Japan when he was five and moved to Britain, only returning to visit his native land as an adult three decades later.

“Since last night, we have received a huge number of orders. We’re very happy,” a spokeswoman for Ishiguro’s Japanese publishers Hayakawa told AFP.

“We have decided to reprint the eight works that we have already published in Japanese,” she said.

Ishiguro’s best-known novel, “The Remains of the Day,” is among the works that have been translated into Japanese.

Japanese media showed images of late-night bookshops frantically digging out their sparse stocks of Ishiguro works and placing them above Murakami books.

It was slightly more embarrassing for staff at Tokyo’s flagship Kinokuniya bookshop, who had lovingly laid out more than 30 titles of Murakami’s books in a special display.

After they let out a loud surprised “Ohhh”, staff quickly dismantled their Murakami corner and replaced it with their handful of copies of Ishiguro’s books while rushing to order more, according to Asahi Shimbun.

Government spokesman Yoshihide Suga told reporters on Friday that Japan congratulated its native son “from the bottom of its heart”.

“His novels are also read by many Japanese and they have been turned into a play and a TV drama,” said Suga.

Nagasaki mayor Hodo Nakamura also congratulated Ishiguro, saying it was an “immense honour” for his city.

Both his first novel, “A Pale View of Hills” from 1982, and his subsequent work, “An Artist of the Floating World” from 1986, take place in Nagasaki a few years after World War II.

Meanwhile, Ishiguro’s Japanese publisher tweeted (in Japanese): “We’re all flustered.”


Haruki Murakami’s yearly ‘non-win’

Haruki Murakami’s yearly non-win has now become something of a running joke to the rest of the Japanese public – many say autumn hasn’t started in Japan if Murakami hasn’t lost once again.

Murakami is part of a select club of bestselling or critically lauded artists who, despite repeat nominations or wide speculation, have failed to win the top prizes in their industry.

These include actors Amy Adams and the late Peter O’Toole (though he did get an honorary Oscar), as well as singers Björk and Katy Perry.

But cheer up Murakami fans, hope springs eternal – after all, Leonardo DiCaprio won an Oscar last year after a 23-year wait.

With bits from