Ryu Murakami is a popular contemporary writer, whose work challenges conventional ideas and criticises modern materialism. His writing is more realistic than many of his contemporaries, and his anger is more direct. His characters often live empty, nihilistic lives with no future.
He won the Akutagawa Prize in 1976 for ‘Kagirinaku Toumeini Chikai Buruu’ (‘Almost Transparent Blue’), a brutally beautiful story of hallucinogens, sex, and exploitation, which has sold over 2 million copies.
Recently, he hit the headlines with a controversial new book, ‘Ano kane de nani ga kaeta ka’ (‘What could we have done with that money?’), about the 7.4 trillion yen the Japanese government paid out to struggling banks in 1999.