For Haruki Murakami, the fight against coronavirus “is not a war”

“I chose music hoping it would do you some good. Not sure if it works, I’ll try ”, warns the one who irregularly hosts a musical program on Tokyo FM radio for almost two years. But the special “Stay home” broadcast Friday evening had a particular resonance giving food for thought and confidentiality. The novelist Haruki Murakami in solo with his beloved cat.

“Some politicians say that the battle against the coronavirus is a war. But I don’t think it’s a good metaphor, Murakami analysis. It is not a fight between good and evil, a conflict between enemies, I think it is more a test of our ability to cooperate, to help each other, to unite. It is not a confrontation of power to kill each other, it is a battle to continue living. Hostility and hatred have no place. I don’t want to compare it to a war. “

The author of Kafka on the shore or 1Q84 offers few interviews. But, according to the producers of Tokyo FM, the music lover Murakami, 71, enjoys with pleasure this radio exercise during which he answers questions sent by listeners. This time, almost all of them spoke of the pandemic.

Audio material with which Murakami recorded the radio program alone at home. Photo Tokyo FM / Murakami Radio

Used to working alone, reading, writing and listening to records, Murakami says he does not suffer from the current semi-confinement. However, he wonders what tomorrow will be: “It would be good to keep in the new life after what was good in life in the time of corona. Because of this period of abstinence, of restrictions, I have the impression that we understand what can disappear from our lives without it bothering us too much. It’s a kind of huge social experience on a global scale. The results of this experience will gradually spread throughout society. Good or bad. It is good to reflect on what our lives have been so far. On the other hand, what scares me is a risk of withdrawal on several levels, on its region or on its country, a closure. that scares me. “

One certainty, however, his work will not come out unscathed: “When something of this magnitude happens, the novelist has several options. Of course, he can tell the raw story, it’s a huge task. I wrote Underground after the Aum sect case [attaque au gaz sarin dans le métro de Tokyo en 1995, ndlr]. It is a collection of real testimony from many people involved, not a fiction. But in fact, I’m basically more interested in replacing “what’s going on here and now” with a different story. I do not know how this coronavirus crisis will be reflected in my work, it may take some time. But it’s unlikely that nothing will be affected in any way, since I also breathe in and out of this air. “

And Murakami to conclude: “What the world needs now is a mask, a vaccine and love. But if in the end there is not enough love and compassion, the post-corona world will be too dark. ”

Karyn Nishimura correspondent in Tokyo

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