Uniqlo launches Haruki Murakami T-shirt series

·3-min read
Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami collaborated with Uniqlo for a T-shirt collection consisting of eight designs inspired by Murakami’s novels and radio programme.
Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami (left) collaborated with Uniqlo for a T-shirt collection consisting of eight designs inspired by Murakami’s novels and radio programme. (Photos: AP, Uniqlo)

Uniqlo has been pushing out graphic T-shirts, commonly known as UT, covering various themes, such as Pokemon, Demon Slayer, and Disney characters. One of the new collections features renowned Japanese writer Haruki Murakami, whose notable works include Norwegian Wood and 1Q84.

The Haruki Murakami x UT collection consists of eight designs inspired by Murakami’s novels and radio programme.

The series was launched first in Japan early this month, but according to the Uniqlo Singapore website, it will be available in Singapore in late March. Worldwide release dates vary according to country.

Haruki Murakami x UT collection: Books, music and cats have been my friends from way back.
Haruki Murakami x UT collection: Books, music and cats have been my friends from way back.

On the back of the Murakami Radio T-shirt reads, “Books, music and cats have been my friends from way back.”

Haruki Murakami x UT collection: For me, the trick to writing a novel, or shall I say elements, is the same as music.
Haruki Murakami x UT collection: For me, the trick to writing a novel, or shall I say elements, is the same as music.

Another quotes his musings, “For me, the trick to writing a novel, or shall I say elements, is the same as music. First, there must be a rhythm. Then you need harmony. And improvisation. These three elements are extremely crucial for me.”

Haruki Murakami x UT collection: Don't let appearances fool you.
Haruki Murakami x UT collection: Don't let appearances fool you.

As for the T-shirt illustrating 1Q84, it cleverly used a mirror image of the text “Don’t let appearances fool you”, a fitting line for a novel about parallel worlds.

Beyond this new line of T-shirts, Uniqlo even had an interview with Murakami for their own lifestyle magazine called LifeWear. To be able to produce such impactful literary works is not without reason, for the 72-year-old writer explained why he never uses social media, “Generally speaking, the quality of writing is not very good. Reading good writing and listening to good music are extremely important in life. So, to put it the other way around, it's best not to listen to bad music or read bad writing.”

However, Murakami’s controversial comment has sparked heated discussions among netizens on Twitter:

“I see. That’s why I have not read even one of Haruki Murakami’s book.”

“In the first place, social media is a place to spit out personal feelings.”

“I think Twitter is not a reading material but for disseminating information.”

“No wonder his novels are difficult to read. It was unbearable halfway through, and I couldn’t finish reading Norwegian Wood and 1Q84.”

One even mocked Murakami’s comment with a prose-like tweet, “I see, maybe he’s right, I thought. Maybe. But what does ‘good writing’ mean? I’m not sure. I shook my head. When it comes to this, should we try writing ‘good writing’ on Twitter? However, I was at a loss to write it out immediately. Good grief.”

Good writing or not, it may just be Murakami’s belief as a professional writer, and different mindsets between a writer and a reader.