Murakami was born in Kyoto in 1949 but spent most of his youth in Kobe. His father was a son of a Buddhist priest. His mother was a daughter of a merchant from Osaka. They both taught Japanese literature.
Since his early years as a child Murakami has been heavily influenced by Western culture, particularly in terms of Western music and literature. He grew up reading everything from the works of American writers such as Vonnegut and Brautigan, to Dostoyevsky and Balzac, and he is often distinguished from other Japanese writers for his western influences. Japanese literature often emphasises on beautiful language, which can result in stiff, restricted composition, while Murakami's style is relatively free and fluid.
Murakami studied drama at Waseda University in Tokyo where he met his wife, Yoko. His first job was in a record store (which is where one of his main characters, Toru Watanabe from "Norwegian Wood:, works). After finishing his studies, Murakami opened the jazz bar "Peter Cat" in Tokyo, which he ran from 1974-1982. Many of his novels have musical themes and titles referring to a particular song, including "Dance, Dance, Dance" (from The Dells), "Norwegian Wood" (after the Beatles song) and "South of the Border, West of the Sun" (the first part being the title of a song by Nat King Cole).
According to "The Guardian", Haruki Murakami is “among the world’s greatest living novelists”. By now, the Japanese author has been awarded with the Franz Kafka prize of the Czech Republic and the Jerusalem Prize, given for distinguished impact on the world’s idea of freedom. His novel ‘Norwegian Wood” (1987) was a mass cult in his native Japan, selling millions of copies and becoming a contemporary myth. “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle” (1994/1995) is much more socially-conscious in comparison with his previous works, interested majorly in personal and quite impressionist depictions of solitude and alienation. “Kafka on the Shore” (2002) turned out to be his most critically acclaimed work, legitimately making him one of the indisputable masters of postmodern literature worldwide.