I wasn't really interested in reading books a lot when I was younger (or sometimes even today). I was more into mathematics and science with numbers and experiments I get to do, but reading doesn't interest me a lot. The reason is that I was either too busy to read anything (the reason why I skim through newspapers and online articles) or I was honestly too lazy to even think about reading. When I do actually read, the genres I was more into are mainly sports, life events, school life, sometimes crime, and sometimes fantasy. I wasn't really into mainstream books such as The Fault in Our Stars, Twilight, and the recent one The Hate U Give because I want to learn something new and unexpected from books that not many people would hear about.
How I discovered Haruki Murakami?
There were not many books that caught my interest. The books I read were the ones that I was forced to read because I need for a good grade for essays and tests in high school. It makes me not want to read books often because high school makes it look like a job rather than a fun experience. However, I was starting freshman year in college when I first heard of the Japanese author Haruki Murakami at a bookstore. At the bookstore, there was a book called "Wind/Pinball" and I was gradually interested in reading it.
Even though I didn't get the chance to finish the book, I did grew interested in the author altogether because his writing style caught my attention not many writers can do today. I researched online to learn more about him: his life, his other novels, and his notable quotes that he got from the novels. It made me become even more interested in him.
Then in the summer of 2016 (I was 19 years old at the time), I finished reading the book called Colorless: Tsukuru Tazaki, and it was a super interesting book because it does touch the part of how people felt hopeless but can be reborn into something new and powerful by doing things that can be uncomfortable at first. While yeah the book does show the decent sexual scenes, I can actually feel the emotions from the words in the story. How each character shows their raw feelings and thoughts that many people want to say but can't. It was super relatable for a lot of people that had gone through the same feeling as the character did.
After finishing the final page of the book, I was super hooked on what I should read next from him. So, I bought a couple of books made by him such as Norweigan Wood and Men Without Women. While I was trying to find what book to read, I didn't know that he was one of the most well-known authors in not only in Japan but in the world. All of his novels were translated into 50 languages, and it was amazing for me to hear those accomplishments that he made.
The number one thing I learned from reading novels from Haruki Murakami is that it makes me feel more empathic about other people. Murakami says it himself that in order to know about the struggles of other people, one need to know the struggles of themselves. Basically, knowing one's darkness inside them can help understand the darkness of others. While I was reading Colorless, there was one quote from the book that struck me the most.
"One heart is not connected to another by harmony alone. They are, instead, linked deeply through their wounds. Pain linked to pain, fragility to fragility. There is no silence without a cry of grief, no forgiveness without bloodshed, no acceptance without a passage through acute loss. That is what lies at the root of true harmony."
Why everyone should read Haruki Murakami's books?
Today, I believe that many people are not showing empathy to others because they are more into the rewards or benefits they get from showing "fake" empathy. That never works in the real world because they're trying to be empathic for their personal gain and not making the other person feel touched. Now, people correlate empathy as to getting a reward or getting unnecessary recognition from strangers, and it's super poisonous to think like that. People need to learn how Murakami have to learn: to understand one's darkness inside their hearts to help other people, and to show empathy because one cares about the human race.
Murakami does know that when they're darkness around, a shed of light will change everything and anything.
If you want to read more, make sure to check out my article about Anime and Japan.