Listen to this 238-hour playlist of every song Murakami has ever written about

Three thousand songs. One very dedicated Spotify user.

1 May 2022
Written by
Chris Harrigan
Art & Science
Reading time

Before he became one of the world’s most beloved novelists, Haruki Murakami was the owner of Peter Cat, a small jazz bar in Tokyo’s western outskirts. It’s a romantic image, the would-be author serving drinks while playing music from his vinyl collection. But life was hard for the young Murakami, who’d taken on so much debt he often had to forgo heating on cold nights. (Peter, his cat, was supposedly his only source of warmth.)

In 1981, Murakami made the decision to shut up shop. (That he saw writing as a more secure profession says something about the bar’s turnover.) But the end of Peter Cat was far from the end of Murakami’s love affair with jazz.

As readers of his novels can attest, Murakami’s fiction is littered with jazz references; his characters routinely pop on a little Stan Getz or John Coltrane while pondering the nature of existence/preparing a laboriously described meal. And now, thanks to the indefatigable work of Spotify user Masamaro Fujiki, we can listen to each and every song ever mentioned in Murakami’s oeuvre, from 1979’s Hear the Wind Sing through to 2017’s Killing Commendatore.

Titled Haruki Murakami’s vinyl collection, the playlist runs through some 3,442 songs over the course of 238 gently relaxing hours.

For those wondering how Murakami managed to crowbar three and a half thousand songs into just 28 novels—which would average 122 mentions per book—the answer is: he didn’t. Instead, Fujiki took the liberty of fleshing out his playlist with songs Murakami mentioned on his now-defunct website, Murakami San no Tokoro. (Purists looking for music that actually features in Murakami’s novels should instead listen to the 96-track playlist compiled by The Week’s Scott Meslow.)

Listening to Haruki Murakami’s vinyl collection is probably as close as any of us will get to visiting Peter Cat. Pour yourself a Suntory, press play and use the ensuing 238 hours to work your way through IQ48.

You can listen to the playlist here.

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