Author Murakami DJs 'Stay Home' radio show to lift spirits

FILE - In this Nov. 3, 2018, file photo, Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami signs his autograph on his novel "Killing Commendatore" during a press conference at Waseda University in Tokyo. The acclaimed Japanese novelist Murakami, hosting a special radio show from home, painted a brighter side of the world with his favorite music, and said Friday, May 22, 2020, the fight against the coronavirus is a challenge to human wisdom in figuring out ways to help and care each other. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File)
FILE - In this Nov. 3, 2018, file photo, Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami signs his autograph on his novel "Killing Commendatore" during a press conference at Waseda University in Tokyo. The acclaimed Japanese novelist Murakami, hosting a special radio show from home, painted a brighter side of the world with his favorite music, and said Friday, May 22, 2020, the fight against the coronavirus is a challenge to human wisdom in figuring out ways to help and care each other. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File) (Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

TOKYO – Acclaimed Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami, hosting a special radio show from home, painted a brighter side of the world with his favorite music, and said the fight against the coronavirus is a challenge in figuring out ways to help and care for each other.

The 71-year-old, known for bestsellers such as “A Wild Sheep Chase” and “Wind-up Bird Chronicle,” said Friday he hoped the show would “blow away some of the corona-related blues.”

Murakami opened the two-hour, late-night show “Murakami Radio Stay Home Special” with “Look for the Silver Lining” by the Modern Folk Quartet, followed by 18 other songs, selected from classical to jazz, pop and rock. Their common thread: smile, sunshine, rainbow, birthday memories and other happy sides of life.

Murakami said comparing the fight against the coronavirus to a war, as politicians often do, is inappropriate. “It’s a challenge for us to figure out how we can share our wisdom to cooperate, help each other and keep balance. It’s not a war to kill each other but a fight of wisdom to let us all live,” he said. “We don’t need enmity and hatred here.”

Music serves as an important motif in Murakami’s stories. An avid listener and collector of music, he has also written books on the topic and has a library of records in his study, where Friday’s program was prerecorded.

Murakami has hosted his “Murakami Radio” every two months since August 2018 on Tokyo FM. The station said Friday’s show was Murakami’s idea to cheer up those who are under stress, living under a coronavirus state of emergency still in place in parts of Japan, including Tokyo.

Murakami began writing while running a jazz bar in Tokyo after graduating from university. Following his 1979 debut novel “Hear the Wind Sing,” the 1987 romance “Norwegian Wood” became his first bestseller, establishing him as a young literary star. Recent hits include “1Q84” and “Killing Commendatore.”

A perennial contender for the Nobel Prize in literature and a social recluse, Murakami said he has worked from home for years and the lifestyle has little changed, though “the corona situation” did affect him in many ways, possibly an inspiration for his future work.