Kengo Kuma Library
Photo: ©Kengo Kuma & Associates

The new Haruki Murakami Library at Tokyo's Waseda University will open in 2021

The Waseda International House of Literature is a public library designed by Kengo Kuma to house Murakami’s archive
Written by
Emma Steen

These days, it’s pretty rare to hear about a new public library – that’s right, a building for storing physical books – being built, but it’s even more exciting when the library in question is dedicated to works by prize-winning novelist Haruki Murakami

Last year, Waseda University announced plans for a new library on its campus, to be designed by renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. The Waseda International House of Literature, nicknamed the Murakami Library, will house the novelist's personal archive, which he has donated to the school, as well as a collection of his works translated into several languages. Murakami is an alumnus of Waseda University. However, he studied drama, not literature, and didn’t actually write his first novel until he was long gone from Waseda at age 29. 

Kengo Kuma Library
Photo: ©Kengo Kuma & Associates

The library won’t be a new building, but a renovated extension of the university’s Building No 4. It’s a fitting location, since it originally housed The Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum, which Murakami frequented as a student. 

Rather than being a formal space for studying and talking in hushed tones, Kuma envisions the new library as a lively place where anyone, including Murakami himself, could come to discuss the novelist's works and the future of literature over coffee.

The exact opening date has yet to be announced. All we know is it will open sometime in spring 2021. We'll keep you posted. In the meantime, listen to this 238-hour playlist, which has every song Haruki Murakami has written about.

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