The Best Haruki Murakami Love Quotes

“We are most alive when we’re in love.”

~John Updike

Haruki Murakami is not known for writing romance novels, yet something about the way he describes the human condition continues to resonate with readers. He captures love in all its manifestations, ranging from complete and utter loneliness to desperate infatuation. Sometimes characters cheat on their spouses while others are betrayed by them. In his works, we really see the range of human experience represented. The reader experiences the emotional highs and lows right along with each character.

While thinking through themes of existence, language, and meaning, readers also learn how to discern a union of true love from a marriage of convenience or obligation. When it comes to Haruki Murakami’s stories, the sex is always awkward and the circumstances almost never lead to a happily ever after ending. Even so, the characters live and breathe and experience life and love in ways that readers both understand and appreciate. Murakami teaches us to understand love as empathy, like when Toru puts himself in Kumiko’s shoes to determine that her actions stem from deep pain. Certainly, learning to live with empathy is one of the rarest gifts of all.

I’ve collected some of my favorite passages that articulate the complicated ways in which Murakami’s characters experience love. You can read them below – if you have any favorites passages that I have not included, please leave a comment and let me know.

I hope love finds you yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

  • Sputnik Sweetheart

    Sputnik Sweetheart

    “And it came to me then. That we were wonderful traveling companions but in the end no more than lonely lumps of metal in their own separate orbits. From far off they look like beautiful shooting stars, but in reality they’re nothing more than prisons, where each of us is locked up alone, going nowhere. When the orbits of these two satellites of ours happened to cross paths, we could be together. Maybe even open our hearts to each other. But that was only for the briefest moment. In the next instant we’d be in absolute solitude. Until we burned up and became nothing.”
    ~Haruki Murakami, Sputnik Sweetheart

  • Norwegian Wood

    Norwegian Wood

    “I really like you, Midori. A lot.” “How much is a lot?” “Like a spring bear,” I said. “A spring bear?” Midori looked up again. “What’s that all about? A spring bear.” “You’re walking through a field all by yourself one day in spring, and this sweet little bear cub with velvet fur and shiny little eyes comes walking along. And he says to you, “Hi, there, little lady. Want to tumble with me?’ So you and the bear cub spend the whole day in each other’s arms, tumbling down this clover-covered hill. Nice, huh?” “Yeah. Really nice.” “That’s how much I like you. ~Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood

  • Kafka on the Shore

    Kafka on the Shore

    “We have an experience — like a chemical reaction — that transforms something inside us. When we examine ourselves later on, we discover that all the standards we’ve lived by have shot up another notch and the world’s opened up in unexpected ways. Yes, I’ve had that experience. Not often, but it has happened. It’s like falling in love.”

  • Norwegian Wood

    Norwegian Wood

    “How much do you love me?” Midori asked.
    “Enough to melt all the tigers in the world to butter.”

  • 1Q84


    “If you can love someone with your whole heart, even one person, then there’s salvation in life. Even if you can’t get together with that person.”

  • After Dark

    After Dark

    “But why should you be interested in me?” “Good question. I can’t explain it myself right this moment. But maybe – just maybe – if we start getting together and talking, after a while something like Francis Lai’s soundtrack music will start playing in the background, and a whole slew of concrete reasons why I’m interested in you will line up out of nowhere. With luck, it might even snow for us.”

  • Samsa in Love

    Samsa in Love

    “The only thing he knew for certain was that he wanted to see that hunchbacked girl again. To sit face-to-face and talk to his heart’s content. To unravel the riddles of the world with her. He wanted to watch from every angle the way she twisted and writhed when she adjusted her brassiere. If possible, he wanted to run his hands over her body. To touch her soft skin and feel her warmth with his fingertips. To walk side by side with her up and down the staircases of the world.”

  • South of the Border, West of the Sun

    South of the Border, West of the Sun

    “Sometimes when I look at you, I feel I’m gazing at a distant star. It’s dazzling, but the light is from tens of thousands of years ago. Maybe the star doesn’t even exist any more. Yet sometimes that light seems more real to me than anything.”

  • South of the Border, West of the Sun

    South of the Border, West of the Sun

    “For a long time, she held a special place in my heart. I kept this special place just for her, like a “Reserved” sign on a quiet corner table in a restaurant. Despite the fact that I was sure I’d never see her again.”

  • South of the Border, West of the Sun

    South of the Border, West of the Sun

    “I was always attracted not by some quantifiable, external beauty, but by something deep down, something absolute. Just as some people have a secret love for rainstorms, earthquakes, or blackouts, I liked that certain undefinable something directed my way by members of the opposite sex. For want of a better word, call it magnetism. Like it or not, it’s a kind of power that snares people and reels them in.”

  • 1Q84


    “I’m tired of living unable to love anyone. I don’t have a single friend – not one. And, worst of all, I can’t even love myself. Why is that? Why can’t I love myself? It’s because I can’t love anyone else. A person learns how to love himself through the simple acts of loving and being loved by someone else. Do you understand what I am saying? A person who is incapable of loving another cannot properly love himself.”

  • The Little Green Monster

    The Little Green Monster

    “Madam madam madam, don’t you see? Don’t you see? I’ve come here to propose to you. From deep deep deep down deep down deep. I had to crawl all the way up here up here up. Awful, it was awful, I had to dig and dig and dig. Look at how it ruined my claws! I could never have done this if I meant you any harm, any harm, any harm. I love you. I love you so much I couldn’t stand it anymore down deep down deep. I crawled my way up to you, I had to, I had to. They all tried to stop me, but I couldn’t stand it anymore. And think of the courage that it took, please, took. What if you thought it was rude and presumptuous, rude and presumptuous, for a creature like me to propose to you?”

  • Dance, Dance, Dance

    Dance, Dance, Dance

    “People fall in love without reason, without even wanting to. You can’t predict it. That’s love.”

  • Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

    Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

    “Losing you is most difficult for me, but the nature of my love for you is what matters. If it distorts into half-truth, then perhaps it is better not to love you. I must keep my mind but lose you.”

  • Kafka on the Shore

    Kafka on the Shore

    “Anyone who falls in love is searching for the missing pieces of themselves. So anyone who’s in love gets sad when they think of their lover. It’s like stepping back inside a room you have fond memories of, one you haven’t seen in a long time.”

  • A Folklore For My Generation: A Pre-history of Late Stage Capitalism

    A Folklore For My Generation: A Pre-history of Late Stage Capitalism

    “I just don’t get it, he told her. I love you so much. I want us to be one. This couldn’t be clearer to me, or more important. I don’t care if it’s unrealistic. That’s how much I love you.”

  • Man Eating Cats

    Man Eating Cats

    “I can’t recall exactly what we talked about, but we found a million topics and could have talked forever. With a laserlike clarity I could grasp everything she wanted to say. And things I couldn’t explain well to anyone else came across to her with an exactness that took me by surprise […] This was on the order of a minor miracle—running across someone you express your feelings to so clearly, so completely. Most people go their entire lives without meeting a person like that. It would have been a mistake to label this “love.” It was more like total empathy.”

  • Toni Takitani

    Toni Takitani

    “But then one day, without the slightest warning, Tony Takitani fell in love. It happened with incredible suddenness […] There was something about her that gave Tony Takitani’s heart a violent punch. The first moment he saw her, his chest tightened, and he could hardly breathe. Not even he could tell what it was about her that had struck him with such force. And even if it had become clear to him, it was not something he could have explained in words.”

  • The Ice Man

    The Ice Man

    “When I cry, my husband kisses my cheeks, turning my tears to ice. He peels off those frozen tears and puts them on his tongue. You know I love you, he says. And I know it’s true. The Ice Man does love me. But the wind blows his frozen words further and further into the past. And I cry some more, icy tears welling up endlessly in our frozen little home in the far-off South Pole.”

  • The Kidney Shaped Stone That Moves Every DaY

    The Kidney Shaped Stone That Moves Every DaY

    “As the year came to an end, Junpei made up his mind. He would count her as number two. She was one of the women who “had real meaning” for him. Strike two. Only one left. But he was no longer afraid. Numbers aren’t the important thing. The countdown has no meaning. Now he knew: What matters is deciding in your heart to accept another person completely. And it always has to be the first time and the last.”

  • On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning

    On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning

    “Let’s test ourselves—just once. If we really are each other’s 100% perfect lovers, then sometime, somewhere, we will meet again without fail. And when that happens, and we know that we are the 100% perfect ones, we’ll marry then and there. What do you think?”

  • Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

    Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

    “And you’re building a specially made station, just for me, until nearly dawn?” “That’s right,” Tsukuru said. “Because I love you, and I want you.”

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