Japanese Nobel candidate: Nationalism is like “cheap liquor”

7 years ago by in Featured, Japan

Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami, a big favorite of this year’s Nobel Prize in literature, criticized the negative consequences of nationalism which have been inflaming a political dispute with China over the Senkaku islands, comparing them with the effects of cheap liquor.

“When a territorial issue ceases to be a practical matter and enters the realm of ‘national emotions,’ it creates a dangerous situation with no exit,” Murakami said in the Japanese press.

“It is like cheap liquor: Cheap liquor gets you drunk after only a few shots and makes you hysterical. It makes you speak loudly and act rudely,” Murakami said.

He warned that such a behavior has negative consequences, once the “drunken rampage” is over. “You are left with nothing but an awful headache the next morning. We must be careful about politicians and polemicists who lavish us with this cheap liquor and fan this kind of rampage,” he said.

Haruki Murakami, aged 63, is known for works like “Kafka on the Shore,” “Norwegian Wood” and “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle”. Two Japanese authors have won the Nobel for literature so far, Yasunari Kawabata in 1968 and Kenzaburo Oe in 1994.