Novelist Murakami hails Hong Kong democracy protesters in German award speech


Novelist Haruki Murakami sent a message of encouragement to Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters in an acceptance speech at an awards ceremony in Berlin, comparing them to former East Germany residents confined by the Berlin Wall and Palestinians trapped by the recent conflict in the Gaza Strip.

Murakami is the first Japanese author to win the Welt Literature Prize (Welt Literaturpreis) from German newspaper Die Welt since the award was established in 1999.

Accepting the award on Friday, he spoke of his own memories of the Berlin Wall prior to its fall 25 years ago this weekend, and attributed ongoing conflicts throughout the world to a system of walls that drive people apart based on intolerance, greed and fear.

Murakami said it is the task of novelists to help readers penetrate these walls, and that harnessing the power of each person’s imagination “could be the starting point of something.”

A world without walls can be created “in the quiet but sustained effort to keep on singing, to keep on telling stories, stories about a better and freer world to come, without losing heart,” he said. “We can see (a world without walls) with our own eyes, we can even touch it with our own hands if we try hard.

“I’d like to send this message to the young people in Hong Kong who are struggling against their wall right now at this moment.”

Student-led blockades of major roads in Hong Kong have continued since Sept. 28 in response to an Aug. 31 decision by authorities in Beijing to restrict candidates for the territory’s 2017 leadership election to those vetted by a committee.

In February 2009, Murakami accepted the Jerusalem Prize despite calls to boycott it in the wake of Israel’s major military offensive in Gaza that ended the month before. Speaking in Jerusalem, he compared walls to authoritarian systems and military might, and likened eggs thrown against the walls to individual lives, concluding he “will always stand on the side of the egg.”

Murakami has had his stories translated into multiple languages, and is often mentioned as a potential candidate for the Nobel Prize in literature. The English edition of his latest novel, “Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage,” topped The New York Times’ best-seller list in its category following its release in August.

  • Asit Saha

    Congratulation for the powerful novelist of Japan, Murakami for accepting the important award ,conferred by the German government, as a nonrecognition of his novels on divergent subjects. He has rightly supported the effort of Democracy loving protesters of Hong Kong.

  • Da

    Please, I wish you really find out “what is going on in HK”, “what they have been done and caused what impact to the normal citizens” and “analysis what they are really flight for whether it is good for HK or not” BEFORE you said those things to the students.

    • rossdorn

      You are probably right…. From what I hear those no-good-nicks are discontented with the decisions of God himself? Or, as they say call him in your country: The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China?

      • Da

        The Yellow Umbrella is asking for the different way of election that they want and they think it is more democracy by using a non-democracy method. Although there are over 100 thousand citizen voted to anti this Yellow Umbrella event, this number is much greater than the number who support this event… They are occupied the main roads of Central, Mongkok, Causeway Bay those are very busy, those are a center of place in Hong Kong. It is affecting a lot of normal citizen, affecting their subsistence… Even the court has been released the restraining order to them to force them to release some of roads, but they still ignored it…

        To me, no matter the cause is right or not, but the way they do is definitely wrong, it is very not democracy.

        As what they have been doing which may convey a wrong example to the next generation, such as: –

        1) If you have a good reason, you can do any illegal things.

        2) As long as you use the word “democracy”, you can do any illegal things, even you can challenge the court.

        3) If you have a good reason, you can ignore majority of normal citizen’s subsistence and their right.

      • rossdorn

        You might startby trying to understand that here you are talking to people who grew up in a
        complely different world from yours, f.e in Europe. In Europe our goal in life is not to survive, not just to simply make as much money as possible.

        So all your stated reasons are simply nonsense to a first world person. In a joke of a place
        like Hong Kong, where ripping off others is the name of the game, of the only game, you dare give the rest of the world lessons in what is or is not democrcay?

      • Da

        I would say our goal in HK not only to survive, we also fight for democrcay. Otherwise, we will not support the 6 4 event.

        I was talking about “their way” is not democracy because they occupied the roads and force normal citizens to support them. Can you tell me why “occupied the road” is related to democracy? Also, we are not like old Europe, we are not not allow to go out, we free to go anywhere. We are living in the freedom city, otherwise, they can’t occupied the roads over a month. Do you agree?

        Why I say their way of this event is non democracy:-
        1) Occupied the main roads, it is affecting the people who relied on this road to earn money to raising their family. Not everyone can support this event, as they need to survive, they have to survive. It is not fair to the ground level people. Why they don’t occupied the other areas where is minimize the negative impacts?

        2) If because they don’t accept that election way and then they can occupied the roads, how about the people who accept that election? Can they occupied the roads as well? They occupied the other people’s right.

        3) There’s a greater amount of people voted to anti this event, the amount is much much more than people who support this event, why they still ignore it? Where is the other people’s right?

        Let’s clarify that, majority of HK citizens are supporting people who flight for democracy but only by using the democracy way to flight. Not the selfish way.

      • rossdorn

        Glad to help….

        “Can you tell me why “occupied the road” is related to democracy?”

        Its the only thing that might help the morons to wake up, those, who cannot see any other purpose in life than to make money…. but usually it does not work. Greed is such a potent tranquiliser against thinking.

        “Let’s clarify that, majority of HK citizens are supporting people who
        flight for democracy but only by using the democracy way to flight. Not
        the selfish way.”

        And what good will that do you? Just look at Catalonia… no one gives a damn what the people themselves actually want.

        Hong Kong is a part of China, except for the 99 years that England rented it. And the only thing that matters as far as the status of Hong Kong goes, is what the Communist Party of China thinks about that question.

        If you like that or prefer what you actually seem to want to call “democracy”, is not going to give Mr Xi sleepless nights.

        Try to understand that I am simply describing reality, there is no judgement, I am not saying what is, is good or bad… it simply is.

      • Da

        If they aim to make “Mr Xi sleepless at night” by using taking away the right from the others, especially the ground level people, which is not fair. If this is a trend of protest, that is really sad. Sigh…

  • rossdorn

    Well, good for Murakami…

    However he and his fans might want to understand the difference between the german and the Hong Kong situation.

    The Germans demonstrated, because they could not get out of their country….

  • Steve Jackman

    A reminder to Murakami san: Charity begins at home.