Murakami’s latest novel tops bestseller lists on day of its Korean release

By Korea Herald

Published : Jul 1, 2013 - 19:57
Updated : Jul 1, 2013 - 19:57

Haruki Murakami. (Minumsa)

The Korean edition of famed Japanese writer Haruki Murakami’s latest novel “Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage” topped the local bestseller lists on the day of its release Monday.

The novel tells the story of a 30-something man named Tsukuru Tazaki, who was suddenly cut off by his close friends during high school. After being terminally depressed for many years, he now makes a living designing train stations at a railway company in Tokyo. He one day decides to visit his once best friends, one by one, to find out exactly why their relations were so suddenly terminated.

The Korean edition of Haruki Murakami’s latest novel “Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage” which hit local bookstores Monday. (Minumsa)

The book was released on Monday morning and instantly topped the local bestseller lists of major online bookstores, including Yes24, Kyobo Book Centre and Aladdin. According to Yes24, some 3,500 copies had been preordered since June 24.

Kyobo Book Centre’s Gwanghwamun branch, on the other hand, was the first bookstore to sell the Korean edition of the novel at noon on Monday.

“We have sold about 4,850 copies so far,” said Jin Young-kyun from Kyobo Book Centre at 2 p.m. on Monday. “This number includes the online preorders, which were about 3,000, as well as some 1,000 copies of Japanese editions. It seems like some local readers decided to purchase the Japanese editions earlier as they didn’t want to wait for the Korean edition’s release.”

The book’s Korean publisher Minumsa reportedly competed fiercely with the nation’s top publishing houses, including Munhagdongne Publishing Group and Gimmyoung Publishers, to secure the rights to publish the Korean edition of the novel.

Minumsa declined to disclose how much it paid for the rights, but it has been reported by the local media outlets that the Korean publishing house paid at least 150 million yen ($1.5 million).

Minumsa said among the 200,000 copies it has printed, 180,000 had been pre-ordered by local bookstores prior to the official release date, July 1. The publishing house is printing an additional 50,000 copies, Minumsa said.

The Japanese writer’s novels, including “Norwegian Wood” (1987) and “Kafka on the Shore” (2002), have enjoyed much popularity in Korea. His 2011 novel “1Q84” sold more than 2 million copies here, and the Korean theater adaptation of “Kafka on the Shore” was staged in Seoul’s Daehangno theater district earlier this year.

According to Minumsa, the first person who purchased the novel at Kyobo Book Centre’s Gwanghwamun Branch on Monday was Tak Shin-hyeong, a 25-year-old college student.

“He visited the bookstore at 9 p.m. on Sunday, and showed up at 5 a.m. on Monday to be the first one to purchase the book,” said Kim Soo-jin from Minumsa.

The publishing house presented a total of 10 special editions of the novel, autographed by Murakami, to the first 10 customers at the bookstore on Monday.

By Claire Lee (


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