The Utopian and Dystopian Time in Murakami Haruki's ‘Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World’

By Virginia Yeung.

Published by The Humanities Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This work analyses time in one of Murakami Haruki’s (1949 - ) most well-known novels, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World (1985). There are two distinctly different worlds in the novel – a high-tech, postmodern city with a clear dystopian touch that the writer calls “Hard-Boiled Wonderland”; an archaic, utopian town “The End of the World”. The story tells the protagonist’s inexplicable experience in the two worlds. I aim to elucidate the themes of the work though analysing the different patterns of time in the two worlds, focusing on the idea of utopian and dystopian communities. I shall examine the utopian and dystopian quality of the work mainly through the perspectives of time, memory and self, which I believe are major themes that run through Murakami Haruki’s works. I argue that unlike what it seems, utopia and dystopia are not opposing territories in the work, the two worlds in the novel both contain utopian and dystopian elements, and they are both ultimately distorted mirror images of the author’s contemporary society. The novel conveys the message that a timeless, utopian society is an impossible dream.

Keywords: Contemporary Japanese Literature, Murakami Haruki, Time in literature

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp.103-110. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 634.981KB).

Virginia Yeung

PhD Student & Language Instructor, Department of Japanese Studies, School of Modern Languages and Cultures, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China

I am a Phd student at the Department of Japanese Studies, School of Modern Languages and Cultures, University of Hong Kong. I am also a full time staff of the same institution, teaching Japanese language.

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