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Hear the Wind Sing

Hear the Wind Sing

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is the first novel by Japanese
Japanese people
The are an ethnic group originating in the Japanese archipelago and are the predominant ethnic group of Japan. Worldwide, approximately 130 million people are of Japanese descent; of these, approximately 127 million are residents of Japan. People of Japanese ancestry who live in other countries...

 author, Haruki Murakami
Haruki Murakami
is a Japanese writer and translator. His works of fiction and non-fiction have garnered him critical acclaim and numerous awards, including the Franz Kafka Prize and Jerusalem Prize among others.He is considered an important figure in postmodern literature...

; it first appeared in the June 1979 issue of Gunzo, one of the most influential literary magazines in Japan. It is the first book in the "Trilogy of the Rat" series, which is followed by Pinball, 1973
Pinball, 1973
is a novel published in 1980 by Japanese author Haruki Murakami. The second book in the "Trilogy of the Rat" series, it is preceded by Hear the Wind Sing and followed by A Wild Sheep Chase , and is the second novel written by Murakami....

1980 in literature
The year 1980 in literature involved some significant events and new books.-Events:*Marguerite Yourcenar becomes the first woman to be elected to the Académie française....

) and A Wild Sheep Chase
A Wild Sheep Chase
is a novel published in 1982 by Japanese author Haruki Murakami. It is the sequel to Pinball, 1973, and is the third book in Murakami's "Trilogy of the Rat"....

1982 in literature
The year 1982 in literature involved some significant events and new books.-Events:*La Bicyclette Bleue by Régine Deforges becomes France's best selling novel ever.-New books:...

). An English translation by Alfred Birnbaum
Alfred Birnbaum
Alfred Birnbaum is an American translator.Alfred Birnbaum was born in the United States and raised in Japan from age five. He studied at Waseda University, Tokyo, under a Japanese Ministry of Education scholarship, and has been a freelance literary and cultural translator since 1980.From March...

 appeared in 1987. All three books in the Trilogy of the Rat have been translated into English, but Hear The Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973, the first two books in the trilogy, were never widely distributed in the English-speaking world, having only been published in Japan by Kodansha
, the largest Japanese publisher, produces the manga magazines Nakayoshi, Afternoon, Evening, and Weekly Shonen Magazine, as well as more literary magazines such as Gunzō, Shūkan Gendai, and the Japanese dictionary Nihongo Daijiten. The company has its headquarters in Bunkyō, Tokyo...

 under their Kodansha English Library branding, and both only as A6
ISO 216
ISO 216 specifies international standard paper sizes used in most countries in the world today. It defines the "A" and "B" series of paper sizes, including A4, the most commonly available size...

-sized pocketbooks.


The author thought of the images of the story while watching the Tokyo Yakult Swallows at Meiji Jingu Stadium
Meiji Jingu Stadium
is a baseball stadium in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan. It opened in 1926 and holds 37,933 spectators. Property of the Meiji Shrine, it is the home field of the Tokyo Yakult Swallows professional baseball team...

; he wrote it an hour at a time every night for four months; this became his first novel. When he submitted it for the first time to Japanese literary magazines such as Gunzo, the title was Happy Birthday, and White Christmas
White Christmas
A white Christmas refers to the presence of snow on Christmas Day. This phenomenon is most common in the northern countries of the Northern Hemisphere...

. The story takes place in 1970 over a period of nineteen days between August 8 and August 28, and is narrated by a 21-year-old unnamed man. The story contains forty small chapters amounting to 130-pages. The story covers the craft of writing, the Japanese student movement, and, like later Murakami novels, relationships and loss. Like later novels, cooking, eating and drinking, and listening to western music are regularly described. The narrator's close friend 'the Rat', around whom the trilogy of the Rat evolves, is a student and bar patron who expresses a general alienation
Social alienation
The term social alienation has many discipline-specific uses; Roberts notes how even within the social sciences, it “is used to refer both to a personal psychological state and to a type of social relationship”...

 towards society. The narrator describes the fictional American writer Derek Heartfield as a primary influence, citing his pulp science fiction works, and quoting him at several points.


  • Gunzo Literature Prize
  • Akutagawa Prize
    Akutagawa Prize
    The is a Japanese literary award presented semi-annually. It was established in 1935 by Kan Kikuchi, then-editor of Bungeishunjū magazine, in memory of author Ryūnosuke Akutagawa...

     - nominated
  • Noma Literary Newcomer's Prize
    Noma Literary Prize
    The Noma Literary Prize was established in 1941 by the Noma Service Association in accordance with the last wishes of Noma Seiji , founder and first president of the Kōdansha publishing company. The Noma Literary Prize has been awarded annually to an outstanding new work published in Japan...

    - nominated