"Harukists" once again held their collective breath, and once again they were left disappointed.

The long-held prayers of die-hard fans of bestselling Japanese author Haruki Murakami went unanswered Thursday when the Swedish Academy awarded this year’s Nobel Prize in literature to Tanzanian-born novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah.

Murakami, who is best known for his 1987 bestseller “Norwegian Wood,” first emerged as a viable contender for the world’s most prestigious literary award around 2007, when prominent betting site Ladbrokes placed him as one of the top contenders. Since then, his name has become something of a fixture on the list of hopefuls, inflating fans’ expectations and turning frenzied speculation about his Nobel possibility into an annual affair.