5 Haruki Murakami film adaptations suitable for the emotionally constipated | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

We all know Haruki Murakami. He’s arguably the most famous Japanese author around the world and his 33 books have been translated into 50 languages. Murakami’s surrealist literature mixed with joy and pain is what made us fall in love with him. Plus, he reminds us what human emotions are supposed to be. 

We want more content from this man though. So of course, film adaptations are the next best thing.

In case you missed it, films based on our fave Murakami stories exist; from novels like “Norwegian Wood” to short stories like “On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning.” It’s okay if this is brand new info for everyone. To get y’all started, here are some of our film recos for Murakami fans out there. 

“Norwegian Wood” (2010) dir. by Tran Anh Hung

Upon hearing the Beatles track, which is also the film’s title, Watanabe is brought back to his student days of sexual and political awakenings. His coming-of-age revolves around two women: long-time high school sweetheart Naoko and free-spirted college friend Midori from college. Throughout the film, Watanabe is torn between these two, conflicted if he should choose his past or future.

“Burning” (2018) dir. by Lee Chang-dong


Based on Murakami’s 1983 short story “Barn Burning,” this South Korean psychological thriller follows young deliveryman Jongsu and his childhood friend Haemi. One day, Haemi asks Jongsu to babysit her cat during her trip to Africa. On her return, Jongsu meets her new friend named Ben who happens to practice arson as a hobby.

“A Girl, She is 100%” (1983) dir. by Naoto Yamakawa


The plot for this short film is as simple as the story it’s based on. One morning, a man and a woman pass by each other on the street and fall in love on sight. Wanting to test their compatibility, they part ways and let destiny decide if they’re fated to meet again.

“Tony Takitani” (2004) dir. by Jun Ichikawa


This is another film based on a Murakami short story. A lonely man follows the standard stages of adulting: find a job, fall in love and get married. He feels like everything is falling into place with her around. She has one flaw though—her kleptomaniac tendencies.

“Hear the Song of the Wind” (1981) dir. by Kazuki Ōmori

Based on Murakami’s infamous trilogy, we follow a student who goes back to his hometown one summer.  He meets his friend called the Rat, stays in his usual hangouts while listening to the Beach Boys and meets a mysterious twin girl.

Read more:
Haruki Murakami’s personal vinyl picks are now a Spotify playlist
10 foreign films worth overcoming the “one-inch tall barrier of subtitles” for
Here is a database of free films to cure your cabin fever

Still from “Norweigan Wood”

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