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Thursday, July 5, 2007 6:34 am

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Haruki Murakami congratulated on Nobel Prize - only, he hadn’t won it

The city library in Ashiya, Hyogo Prefecture, congratulated local son and Japanese contemporary writer Haruki Murakami on their homepage for being awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature - only, Haruki Murakami has not been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, or in any other field, for that matter.

The article congratulating Murakami was accessible on the library’s homepage for over half a month, chief librarian Kazuaki Onishi confessed to the Mainichi Shimbun. 

His explanation was that the article had been written last autumn, just before the Nobel Prize’s were announced, and when expectations were running high in Japan for Murakami to be awarded the prize. A technical mishap meant the article was made available on the homesite.

“In case he would be awarded the prize, we wanted to be able to update the page quickly. It was a simple blunder, but very embarrassing”, Onishi commented.

The library removed the text from their website Tuesday, after the Mainichi Shimbun had pointed out the mistake to them.

Haruki Murakami, who was born in Kyoto but grew up in Ashiya, debuted with “Hear the Wind Sing” in 1979 (translated into English 1987). His international breakthrough came with the 1989 translation of the novel “Norwegian Wood”. While he might not be the first in line to win the Nobel Prize, he has been awarded the Yomiuri Prize for Literature, handed to him by none other than 1984 Nobel laureate Kenzaburo Oe.

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