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Murakami T: The T-Shirts I Love

Murakami T: The T-Shirts I Love

by Haruki Murakami

Narrated by Kotaro Watanabe

Unabridged — 1 hours, 44 minutes

Haruki Murakami

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The international literary icon opens his eclectic closet: Here are photographs of Murakami's extensive and personal T-shirt collection, accompanied by essays that reveal a side of the writer rarely seen by the public.

Considered "the world's most popular cult novelist" (The Guardian), Haruki Murakami has written books that have galvanized millions around the world. Many of his fans know about his 10,000-vinyl-record collection, and his obsession with running, but few have heard about a more intimate, and perhaps more unique, passion: his T-shirt-collecting habit.

In Murakami T, the famously reclusive novelist shows us his T-shirts--including gems from the Springsteen on Broadway show in NYC, to the Beach Boys concert in Honolulu, to the shirt that inspired the beloved short story “Tony Takitani.” Accompanied by short, frank essays that have been translated into English for the first time, these photographs reveal much about Murakami's multifaceted and wonderfully eccentric persona.

*Includes a downloadable PDF of images from the book

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly


In this collection of beguiling pieces novelist Murakami (1Q84) wrote for the Japanese fashion magazine Popeye, he reflects on his collection of T-shirts and the comfortable, quippy, and blithely consumerist aspects of life they represent. An “I Put Ketchup on My Ketchup” T-shirt prompts a fond tribute to American hamburger joints; a selection of car-brand shirts sparks a discussion of why Ferrari or Porsche T’s make one look like a rich jerk while Volkswagen T’s are tastefully middle-class; lizard T-shirt images remind Murakami of uneasily stroking the scaly creature at a zoo, while bird images remind him of getting attacked by crows while out running; and a T-shirt with a dog cartoon provokes a warning to men that they may feel “a little uncomfortable” wearing such adorable designs: “chances are very good that a girl or woman will tell you ‘Woah—that’s so cute!’ ” Seekers of deep cultural analysis should be advised that Murakami’s pensées resolutely avoid that. (“In crowded, noisy bars,” he observes in an essay on beer T-shirts, “you have to shout out your order to the bartender, and I’ve found through experience that the one brand I can pronounce so that it gets through to them is Heineken.”) Murakami’s many fans will eat up this charming ramble. Agent: Amanda Urban, ICM Partners. (Nov.)

From the Publisher

"Mr. Murakami takes readers through a sartorial journey, sharing memories and musings through the lens of the clothes he has accumulated over the years."—Anna P. Kambhampaty, The New York Times

"Murakami T: The T-shirts I Love, is part ode, part exhibit that reads with restrained affection for his accidental accumulations...The diaristic entries have the simplicity of a show-and-tell, with Murakami’s spare prose offering a material history of his closet...Haruki Murakami’s understated love letters to his T-shirts convey how we give life to our things and vice versa."—Charlene K. Lau, The Atlantic

"This lively peek into his collection provides some surprising insights into the humble, real Murakami...A playful, witty, nostalgic journey with an acclaimed novelist." — Kirkus Reviews

"Murakami's charming, utterly self-effacing eccentricity—one of the hallmarks of his fiction—shines brightly here..." —Bill Ott, Booklist

"Murakami’s many fans will eat up this charming ramble." —Publishers Weekly

Library Journal


Hugely popular Japanese author Murakami offers fans a peek into his closet, stacked high with his beloved T-shirts, from the one that inspired the short story "Tony Takitani" to those celebrating Springsteen on Broadway and the Beach Boys in Honolulu. With numerous brief, revealing essays; a decidedly different book.

Kirkus Reviews

The popular writer dishes on one of his unusual hobbies.

Murakami admits he’s not really a serious collector, but he does have many vinyl records, books, dinky little pencils, and T-shirts “that just keep on piling up.” These short, witty, and conversational essays originally appeared in a Japanese men’s fashion magazine. No suspense here, as he immediately confesses his “Tony Takitani” shirt he bought in Maui for $1 is his favorite. It inspired Murakami to write a story about him, which later became a film—absolute, best investment I ever made, he tells us, tongue-in-cheek. The author’s personal interests and shirts often coalesce, like surfing and swimming shirts, sports he enjoyed; hamburgers (preferably American) and ketchup; whiskey, which he enjoys while listening to music, mostly jazz; and beers, especially Guinness, in Ireland—“Talk about tasty.” Murakami has a number of promotional shirts from his publishers that he doesn’t wear; it wouldn’t be right walking around “loudly proclaiming” himself. An avid, global visitor of record stores, he’s amassed a sizable number of their shirts. He also likes animal-design T’s—“they are pretty cute.” He is partial to shirts with just writing on them, and he likes to get shirts as souvenirs of music concerts he’s attended. For example, he proudly discussed a Bruce Springsteen T from the recent Broadway concert and a Beach BoysSmiletour T from a few years back. He wears his VW Beetle T because it doesn’t “seem like you’re putting on airs.” A committed long-distance runner, Murakami has many shirts that commemorate his races, including the Murakami (no relation) Triathlon. No surprise that he has some related to books, including one from Portland, Oregon’s Powell’s Books, a free gift for signing some books. This lively peek into his collection provides some surprising insights into the humble, real Murakami.

A playful, witty, nostalgic journey with an acclaimed novelist.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940177053325
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Publication date: 03/12/2022
Edition description: Unabridged

Read an Excerpt

I’m not particularly interested in collecting things, but there’s one sort of running motif in my life: despite my basic indifference, objects just seem to collect around me, of their own volition. Stacks and stacks of LP records—so many I’ll never listen to them all; books I’ve already read and will probably never open again; a ragtag assemblage of magazine clippings; dinky little pencils so worn down they don’t fit into a pencil sharpener anymore—all kinds of things just keep on piling up. Like the character Urashima Taro in the Japanese fairy tale, who can’t help himself from rescuing a little turtle on the beach, I find myself somehow resigned to it. Carried away by some emotion I can’t even name, I wind up gathering things around me. Though I’m well aware that collecting hundreds of stubs of pencils doesn’t serve any possible purpose.
T-shirts are one of those objects that just naturally pile up. They’re cheap, so whenever an interesting one catches my eye, I invariably buy it—plus people give me various novelty T-shirts from around the world, I get commemorative T-shirts whenever I finish a marathon, and I pick up a few at my destination when I travel, instead of bringing along extra clothes... Which is how, before I even realized it, the number of T-shirts in my life has skyrocketed, to the point where there’s no room in my drawers for all of them anymore and I’ve had to store the overflow in stacked-up cardboard boxes. It’s not at all like one day I simply made up my mind that Okay, I’m going to start a T-shirt collection. Believe me, that’s not the case.
I doubt this book will be that useful to anyone (much less being of any help in solving any of the myriad problems we face at present), yet, that said, it could turn out to be meaningful, as a kind of reference on customs that later generations could read to get a picture of the simple clothes and fairly comfortable life one novelist enjoyed from the end of the twentieth century into the beginning of the twenty-first. But then again—maybe not. Either way works for me. I’m just hoping you can find some measure of enjoyment in this little collection.

Customer Reviews