Japanese writer Haruki Murakami praised by Chinese netizens after hosting special COVID-19 radio program

By Ji Yuqiao Source:Global Times Published: 2020/5/26 21:13:13

Haruki Murakami Photo: VCG

Chinese netizens praised Japanese writer Haruki Murakami after he held a special episode of his radio program "Murakami Radio" to cheer up those who are struggling amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Some netizens have taken to social media to compare his work to that of Chinese author Fang Fang, who published a controversial diary about her experiences in Wuhan that many in China have seen as only portraying the dark side of the city's struggle against the virus. 

The show began going viral after Chinese fans of the program translated some of the Japanese language show's content and posted it on social media. 

Murakami, 71, said on the radio program on Friday that fighting against the coronavirus is not a war but a means to keep human beings alive through wise methods, and that hostility and hatred are unnecessary. "Even if the outbreak ends, the world will become cold and dull without love and forgiveness," he said.

These words struck a chord with Chinese netizens. 

"He has a sense of responsibility for human society. I love him in the same way as I love the sun as he has never let anyone down, neither in his books nor in real life," one netizen commented on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo.

The hashtag for Murakami's radio program rushed to the top of the hottest searches on Sina Weibo on Monday, earning more than 84 million views as of Tuesday afternoon.

The radio program and Murakami's comforting words led to some netizens to compare him with Fang Fang, a well-known author who began publishing an online diary during her time in lockdown in Wuhan, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in China at the time. 

The diaries were later translated into English and German and published overseas, sparking controversy in China as some netizens claimed that the diary defamed China's efforts in combating the virus, as it only exposed the dark side of the outbreak in the city while ignoring the efforts of local people to combat the virus and the support given from across the nation. 

"Murakami is a really kind-hearted writer and he is trying to eliminate conflict and disputes caused by the pandemic, while Fang Fang is just a double-dealer seeking fame and fortune by exploiting Wuhan people's suffering," netizen Sijiwuxiaqiu commented.

According to Peking University professor Zhang Yiwu, Fang Fang's diary has been condemned by some observers, who say that, whether she intended it or not, the diary serves as a weapon for the West to deny all the efforts and support the Chinese people offered to Wuhan and the world. 

But Shi Wenxue, a cultural critic based in Beijing, said he does not think people should compare the two writers, or praise one while criticizing the other. 

"I hope netizens can respect the fact that their differences are based on what they have seen, heard and felt," Shi told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

"Murakami's radio program called on us to love and understand others, but it led people to compare him to her. These attacks are exactly what he wouldn't want to see happen."

Murakami has been hosting his radio program on Tokyo FM since August 2018 to share beautiful music and his apperception for life with audiences,as Xinhua reported.


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