Author Murakami DJs 'Stay Home' radio show to lift spirits

Haruki Murakami, a Japanese writer, launched a special edition of his "Stay Home" radio program on May 22, with the theme "music for a hopeful tomorrow." He painted a brighter side of the world with his favorite music, and said the fight against COVID-19 is a challenge in figuring out ways to help and care for each other.

The 71-year-old, known for bestsellers such as "A Wild Sheep Chase" and "Windup Bird Chronicle," said Friday he hoped the show would "blow away some of the corona-related blues."

In the program, Murakami said that people have been living a restricted and inconvenient life in recent months, not being able to see the people they want to see, not being able to go where they want to go and not being able to do the things they want to do. In order to cheer people up and calm their hearts, he chose some songs for them, he added.

Murakami also argued it was inappropriate to describe the fight against COVID-19 as a war, saying it was not a battle of power to kill each other but a battle of wisdom to keep everyone alive.

The world may be experiencing "a large-scale social experiment whose results could slowly spread across the entire society, for better or worse," he said.

Murakami said he worries the post-COVID-19 world may be a more closed and selfish place even if it has better healthcare.

"If love and compassion are lacking, the world after COVID-19 will surely be an edgy and insipid place even if masks and vaccines are abundantly distributed," he said. "Love is important."

Murakami began writing while running a jazz bar in Tokyo after graduating from university. Following his 1979 debut novel "Hear the Wind Sing," the 1987 romance "Norwegian Wood" became his first bestseller, establishing him as a young literary star. Recent hits include "1Q84" and "Killing Comnendatore."

(With input from AP)

(Cover: Renowned Japanese author Haruki Murakami signs his book during a press conference held at his alma mater, Waseda University, in Tokyo, Japan, November 4, 2018. /VCG)