On June 20, a press conference was held at Waseda where President Tanaka announced the construction of the Waseda International House of Literature on campus. This new facility realizes the Haruki Murakami Library concept announced last year in November, when graduate Haruki Murakami donated his personal archive to the university.
“The Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum at the Waseda campus is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, and it is a place where scholars from all around the world studying theater visit at least once,” said Tanaka. “When Mr. Murakami was a student, he had spent much time at this museum, and we hope that the Waseda International House of Literature, which will be built nearby, will become such a place.”
The Waseda International House of Literature will renovate a part of Building #4, and it is expected to open in April 2021. Its architectural design will be done by world-renowned architect Kengo Kuma.
In the video message at the press conference, Kuma said, “Mr. Murakami intends on this facility to be something like a library full of life, where university students and all kinds of people have access to. This library would be a perfect place for Mr. Murakami’s works. This could possibly be a place where students not only become exposed to the literary world of Haruki Murakami, but also contemplate the future of literature, maybe even the world. I’m now designing this facility with hopes that it will be somewhat of a casual, cultural center where people can think about such things over coffee.”
After this message, Tanaka stated his aspirations.
“When I asked Mr. Murakami what the most important thing was in a novel, he answered that it was ‘the story.’ A story overcomes language barriers and its value can be equivalently exchanged. I hope that the Waseda International House of Literature will embody the charm of stories connecting the world.”