Haruki Murakami Challenged On Women

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MK: That brings me to another question about the women in your novels. Something that comes up rather often when talking about your work. I’m thinking of the way that women are depicted, the roles they’re assigned.

It’s common for my female friends to say to me, ‘If you love Haruki Murakami’s work so much, how do you justify his portrayal of women?’ The notion being that there’s something disconcerting about the depiction of women in your stories. It irks some people, men and women alike. A common reading is that your male characters are fighting their battles unconsciously, on the inside, leaving the women to do the fighting in the real world.

HM: Really? How so?

MK: It goes beyond whether they’re realistic, or come across as ‘real-life women.’ It has more to do with the roles they play. For example, as we were saying earlier, the woman functions as a kind oracle, in that she’s made to act as a medium of fate.

HM: She takes you by the hand and leads you off somewhere.

A Feminist Critique of Murakami Novels, With Murakami Himself, Mieko Kawakami in LitHub