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History, adaptation, Japan: Haruki Murakami’s ‘Tony Takitani’ and Jun Ichikawa’s Tony Takitani

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Haruki Murakami’s short story, ‘Tony Takitani’, first published in Japan in 1990, and the film adaptation directed by Jun Ichikawa, released in 2004 under the same title, are important critiques of society in late twentieth-century Japan. I focus on the socio-historical framework that Murakami constructed in the short story and that Ichikawa instantiated in his adaptation. I suggest that Murakami’s ‘Tony Takitani’, an incisive portrayal of unsustainable consumption and social disconnection, is a prescient work that anticipated the bursting of Japan’s economic bubble in the early 1990s – and that Ichikawa’s film confirms the accuracy of Murakami’s dark prescience, but offers a counterpoint to it in an extended storyline that reveals a muted optimism grounded in the possibility of social reconnection.

Keywords: Haruki Murakami; Japanese film; Japanese literature; Jun Ichikawa; Tony Takitani; film adaptations

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Temple University

Publication date: 2011-08-26

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  • Adaptation, or the conversion of oral, historical or fictional narratives into stage drama has been common practice for centuries. In our own time the processes of cross-generic transformation continue to be extremely important in theatre as well as in the film and other media industries. Adaptation and the related areas of translation and intertextuality continue to have a central place in our culture with a profound resonance across our civilisation.
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