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

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This work comprises two parts. The first part examines the time structure of the story, with focus on duration, order, and narrative pace. 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”, and the archaic, utopian town “The End of the World”. From a narratological point of view, I shall illustrate the different time sense of the two worlds and the narrative strategies used to knit the disparate worlds together. The second part is a study of themes, which centres 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 oeuvre. I aim to illustrate that the two worlds in the novel are symmetrical in structure, utopia and dystopia are not opposing territories in the work, they are ultimately both distorted mirror images of the author’s contemporary society, and the novel conveys the message that a timeless, utopian society is an impossible dream.


Keywords: Contemporary Japanese Literature, Murakami Haruki, Narratology, Time in literature
Stream: Literature, Literary Studies
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: Utopian and Dystopian Time in Murakami Haruki's ‘Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World’, The


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.

Ref: H08P0547