TOKYO (AP) - A monkey that confesses he steals women's identity cards, causing them to temporarily forget who they are, starred on Tuesday (Dec 17) as Haruki Murakami marked 40 years since his debut as a novelist with his first public reading in Japan in nearly a quarter century.
Now 70 and one of the world's most acclaimed novelists, he debuted with Hear The Wind Sing in 1979, four years after he began writing while running a jazz bar in Tokyo.
His 1987 romantic novel Norwegian Wood was his first bestseller, establishing him as a young literary star.
His latest novel, Killing Commendatore, hit American bookstores last year.
Media-shy Murakami's last public readings were in Kobe and Ashiya in western Japan, where he grew up, following a deadly 1995 earthquake there.
On Tuesday, he was joined by award-winning young female novelist Mieko Kawakami, a long-time Murakami fan who was in the audience at both events 24 years ago.
After the two took turns reading passages from their works, Murakami said: "Actually, I have a brand new novel that I wrote a few weeks ago and I haven't even published it."
He said it is called Confessions Of A Shinagawa Monkey.
It is a sequel to A Shinagawa Monkey, a story of a woman who forgets her name because a monkey had stolen it, published as part of a 2002 compilation.
Murakami said Confessions takes about 50 minutes to read so he read a 30-minute abridged version.
He has no plans to publish the story.