Haruki Murakami Library to Open With a Cafe in Tokyo in 2021

A Haruki Murakami Library Is Opening Soon in Tokyo and It Comes With a Cafe

It features manuscripts and jazz records donated by Haruki Murakami himself.

Famous for internationally acclaimed novels that include The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami needs no introduction. Still, a place where the author’s fans can gather in admiration of his writing is bound to be — just like his novels — a guaranteed success. The Haruki Murakami Library, known officially as the Waseda International House of Literature (WIHL), is scheduled to open at Waseda University this year, and it belongs on every bibliophile’s bucket list. 

Housing the literary works of the award-winning Japanese novelist, the library is a renovated extension of Building No. 4 on the Waseda campus. This is the building that contains the Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum, where Murakami spent his time as a drama major before graduating from the university in 1975. 

Inside the Haruki Murakami Library, a stunning cultural centre dedicated to the Japanese author’s works

Haruki Murakami donated and entrusted many items to his alma mater, including handwritten manuscripts of his novels, correspondences, books that have been translated overseas into more than 50 languages, and tens of thousands of documents related to his writing. In addition to these materials, Waseda University is also housing the author’s personal collection of nearly 20,000 vinyl records and CDs. 

Inspired by the Waseda University alumnus, The Haruki Murakami Library was created to make Murakami’s literary works accessible for everyone, as well as a facility where fans of Murakami and literature scholars around the world can participate in research. 

The cosy library was designed by world-renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, who wanted the new facility to be “a library full of life,” where visitors are encouraged to gather, read, and discuss books over a cup of coffee. Inside the library, the warm wooden accents and bookshelves flanking the central staircase create a relaxing atmosphere for readers. 

“This library would be a perfect place for Mr. Murakami’s works. This could possibly be a place where students not only become exposed to the literary world of Haruki Murakami, but also contemplate the future of literature, maybe even the world,” said Kuma during a press conference. 

“Discovering the ordinary is an important theme, you see. Just how stylish, and how intriguing, our everyday life can be,” he remarked in his visit to the newly completed library at Waseda University. “Doesn’t this concept run throughout Murakami’s literature? The same concept applies when dealing with architecture.”

Among the on-site facilities of The Haruki Murakami Library are a seminar space that can fit up to 60 people, galleries, an audio space, and a cafe. 

The Haruki Murakami Library has a cafe that will be run by students 

To promote learning beyond academics, Waseda University is also offering students a chance to work at the Orange Cat cafe, where visitors can spend their time reading and drinking coffee. More than an opportunity for students to gain practical experience, however, there’s another compelling reason to open a cafe at the Haruki Murakami Library. 

Avid fans know that before he became a full-time author, Murakami used to run a jazz bar named Peter Cat while studying at Waseda University. The bar was located in Kokubunji on the western outskirts of Tokyo, and it was a laid-back establishment where anyone could listen to jazz records, eat delicious food, drink coffee, and watch live performances. With this in mind, one can see how a student-run coffee house on campus allows students to take a page from the bestselling author and follow in his footsteps. 

In addition to operating the cafe inside the Haruki Murakami Library, students can also take part in planning events, seminars, and exhibitions alongside other researchers working at the library. 

Also read: 6 Instagrammable Tokyo Bookstores and Where to Visit Them

The Waseda International House of Literature (or The Haruki Murakami Library) is scheduled to open on 1 Oct 2021 and is accepting reservations for visitors here

Address: Building No.4, Waseda Campus, 1 Chome-104 Totsukamachi, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 169-8050, Japan

Opening hours: Thursday to Tuesday, 10am to 5pm 

About Author

Tiffany Conde
Tiffany Conde

Tiffany is a writer who covers travel, food, shopping, and pop culture. She has a soft spot for stories about Japan and Italy. While she waits patiently for her next adventure, she enjoys writing about the coolest places to stay around the world and where to find them.

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