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Haruki Murakami is Japan’s most important and internationally acclaimed living writer. “Norwegian Wood,” his fourth novel, has sold more than 2 million copies since it was published in 1987. His latest, “Kafka on the Shore,” has sold more than 200,000 copies since its publication in September, and has topped the bestseller lists in Japan for more than two months.

Murakami was born in Kyoto in 1949 and raised in nearby Kobe. He moved to Tokyo to attend Waseda University at 18, then lived in Europe and America before returning to Japan in 1995. Since 1979, and his first novel “Hear the Wind Sing,” he has written more than 30 works of fiction and nonfiction in his native language and translated more than 30 titles from English into Japanese. His own books have been translated into 16 languages, with 10 now available in English.

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