In Murakami T: The T-Shirts I Love, Haruki Murakami introduces readers to his unique and varied T-shirt collection: from bookshop, charity shop and record store finds to souvenirs of marathons and a Beach Boys concert in Honolulu, to the shirt that inspired the beloved short story 'Toni Takitani'. Alongside the photographs are personal essays, translated into English for the first time, revealing more of Murakami's multifacted and wonderfully eccentric persona.
To celebrate the book's release, Vintage teamed up with HyperJapan, the UK's biggest J-culture event, to encourage fans of Murakami's work to share their own favourite T-shirts and the stories or memories attached to them. Read on for just a few of the heartwarming, hilarious and moving submissions received from Murakami fans across the country.
'This is a vintage tee I picked up in Kyoto, of all places, over 10 years ago but for the Bolder Boulder annual 10k run in Boulder, Colorado. This particular one indicates on the reverse that I'm training for the 1983 edition, coincidentally won by a Brit attending the University at the time. I love the 80's athletic aesthetic, it reminds me of the leisure centre iconography of that era and is reminiscent of the Olympic pictograms seen at Tokyo 1964 (and 2020!). For a shirt older than I am, it still looks cool and is nice to wear too!' - Rory
'While I was on holiday, I saw an actress from a TV show that I liked (Wynona Earp) in a coffee shop and decided I would go and get a coffee and try to pluck up the courage to say 'hello' to her. While waiting for my coffee, I said 'hello' to her but the customer behind me bumped into me! In this instant I fell forward and the actress' coffee spilt on me. She felt really guilty about it, apologised and was genuinely sincere. I said it didn't matter but she insisted she help me clean it up. We went to the bathroom to try to clean my shirt, where she took out a T-shirt from her handbag and told me to take it as mine was ruined. I was forever thankful and have treasured the shirt ever since. She said it was one of her favourite T-shirts as it reminded her of her cat. I love it as it was an amazing gift and it's an awesome samurai cat.' - Stacey
'This T-shirt may look like an ordinary T-shirt, but what is special to me is that it raised a lot of money during a massive typhoon in the a Philippines. It's a collaboration between three artists and I was at my healthiest when I bought it.' - Jordan
'This is my favourite T-shirt because it has been worn soft by time and yet its print has preserved with perfect crispness. It says 'Tokyo number one'. I bought it when I moved to Japan more than 30 years ago. I wore it through love and tragedy and everyday occurences ... too many to recall ... I never thought that it would last as long as it has. As it became misshappen after vigorous spinning in my manual machine and encounters with all the washing appliances it outlasted, I enjoyed it wearing it all the more. It has been to beaches in California and fjords in Norway and volcanoes in Guatemala. It has gone jogging and zip-lining and on many challenging urban expeditions where it has been the ideal companion to a cup of coffee and a book. I am wearing it here with my favourite lipstick which has also endured for decades. I hope that we will weather many more years together.' - Gael
'My sister is an astronaut! She helped to design this patch for her expedition to space. She went to the ISS on expedition #62 ! I'm so proud of her!' - Becka
'My favourite T-shirt is one that I made during the pandemic to raise money for charity. Inspired by 'The Million Dollar Homepage' project in the early 2000s, I created the '£5000 T-Shirt' (5KTS) by dividing a T-shirt into 500 equal squares and allowing people to 'sponsor' the squares for £10 each. The sponsors requested (or sent) an image or message, which I then added by hand using fabric pens. It took several months, but gave me something to work towards throughout the lockdown and a way to artistically connect with others. The end result is a patchwork of people's passions, work, love, loss and life (and it successfully raised £5000 for WaterAid!). One day I hope to sell it for another £5000, which would up the total amount raised for charity to £10,000. But until then, it remains my favourite T-shirt.' - Bec
'I got an 1Q84 tee at the midnight launch of that book at Foyles in London in 2011 and was able to wear it when buying the first copy in Japanese of Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki at Kinokunya in Shinjuku in 2013. I wore it again to collect a copy of the English version later that year at Foyles for another midnight launch.' - Mike
'The picture shows my daughter wearing a T-shirt she designed of her and her rabbit cuddly toy. During lockdown we spent a lot of time making things together and we transferred her drawing on to a T-shirt. The Covid-19 lockdown brought with it a lot of negatives, but time spent making things with a five-year-old was a pure pleasure.' - Michael
'In 2003, I first took my father across the pond to the Chicago Jazz Festival. The T-shirt still reminds me of The Jazz Messengers tribute with Terence Blanchard, Bradford Marsalis, Ceder Walton and Co.
Sadly for my father, a brain hemorrhage robbed him of these memories but I still use this shirt to remind him of this happy time.' - Stephen
'This is my all time favourite T-shirt that I have had for many years. I cut the neckline myself to make it slouchy. I found it at a car boot sale where I met my partner and we are still together to this day! We both love Star Wars and it speaks to my Chinese heritage. I love wearing it because it evokes so many memories and is also super comfortable and oversized!' - Sheileen
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Haruki Murakami's books have galvanized millions around the world. Many of his fans know about his 10,000-vinyl-record collection, and his obsession with running, but few have heard about a more intimate, and perhaps more unique, passion: his T-shirt-collecting habit.
In Murakami T, the famously reclusive novelist shows us his T-shirts - including gems found in bookshops, charity shops and record stores - from those featuring whisky, animals, cars and superheroes, to souvenirs of marathons and a Beach Boys concert in Honolulu, to the shirt that inspired the beloved short story 'Tony Takitani'. Accompanied by short, frank essays that have been translated into English for the first time, these photographs reveal much about Murakami's multifaceted and wonderfully eccentric persona.
'The world's most popular cult novelist' Guardian