Murakami irate over auction of manuscripts

Popular novelist Haruki Murakami said in a monthly magazine released Friday that a number of his manuscripts have been put up for auction on the Internet and at secondhand bookshops without his permission.

In a contribution to the April issue of the magazine Bungei Shunju, Murakami discussed details on the auctions, denouncing it as “unlawful trading of original manuscripts.”

Murakami, 57, a celebrated contemporary Japanese writer, said that among the manuscripts is a handwritten translation of “The Ice Palace” by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940). A set of 73 of the manuscript’s 400-character pages was put up for sale at a secondhand bookshop for more than 1 million yen.

In the 16-page article in the magazine, Murakami said he had handed the scripts to a now-deceased editor of the Chuokoron publishing house.

“The ownership of manuscripts belongs in principle to the author,” Murakami argued. “A lot of my manuscripts have been released and are missing. They could be considered stolen items, as they were taken unfairly and sold to earn money.”

Murakami said he wrote his works by hand with a fountain pen up until 1988, when he began using a word processor.

Chuokoron-Shinsha Inc., publisher of the Chuokoron monthly magazine, offered an apology Friday for the unauthorized release of Murakami’s scripts.

The publishing house said it has briefed Murakami about its probe into the release and will continue talks with the writer.

Murakami won his first literary prize for his first novel — “Hear the Wind Sing” (1979).

“Norwegian Wood” (1987), a best-selling novel, is one of Murakami’s most noted works.