A Japanese bestselling writer, he is known for works such as Kafka on the Shore, Norwegian Wood, and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. His work spanned the genres of magical realism and surrealism.
He studied drama at Waseda University. Before working full-time as a writer, he opened a Tokyo coffeehouse and jazz bar called Peter Cat.
His first novel, Hear the Wind Sing, was made into a film in 1981.
He was born in Kyoto, Japan. He met his future wife, Yoko, at Waseda University.
He translated works by F. Scott Fitzgerald into Japanese.