Famed Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami is about to become the internet's agony uncle. Yesterday, Murakami's publisher announced that the reclusive writer will launch a website where fans can ask for advice and pose questions "of any kind." The site will be called "Murakami-san no tokoro" or "Mr. Murakami's place," though his publisher, Shinchosha, has not announced a URL or email address for it.
"After so long, I want to exchange emails with readers," Murakami said in a statement published by Shinchosha.
"I’m just an ordinary person who lives an ordinary life."
The 65-year-old author of books like Norwegian Wood and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle will also answer questions about his personal tastes, including his affection for cats and his favorite Japanese baseball team. Questions can be submitted in multiple languages and will be accepted through the end of January. Murakami will publish his responses over the following two months.
Murakami's books have been translated into 12 languages and he enjoys an ardent following of fans, known as "Harukists," though he has long shied from the limelight. In 2013, he appeared in public in Japan for the first time in 18 years to promote his latest novel, and took the opportunity to explain his disdain for fame. "When I woke up this morning I almost thought of taking a bullet train home," he told the small audience. "It’s not because I have a mental condition or purple spots all over my body. I’m just an ordinary person who lives an ordinary life.”