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1Q84 (いちきゅうはちよん, Ichi-Kyū-Hachi-Yon, stylized in the Japanese cover as "ichi-kew-hachi-yon") is a novel written by Japanese writer Haruki Murakami, first published in three volumes in Japan in 2009–10. It covers a fictionalized year of 1984 in parallel with a "real" one. The novel is a story of how a woman named Aomame begins to notice strange changes occurring in the world. She is quickly caught up in a plot involving Sakigake, a religious cult, and her childhood love, Tengo, and embarks on a journey to discover what is "real".

All page numbers from the three-volume trade paperback First Vintage International Edition published in May 2012, ISBN 978-0-345-80293-4, 3rd printing
All italics as in the book
That's what the world is, after all: an endless battle of contrasting memories.



Book 1 (April-June)

  • This may be the most important proposition revealed by history: “At the time, no one knew what was coming.”
    • Chapter 1, “Don’t Let Appearances Fool You” (p. 3)
  • “It’s just that you’re about to do something out of the ordinary…
    “I suppose you’re right.”
    “Right. And after you do something like that, the everyday look of things might seem to change a little. Things may look different to you than they did before. But don’t let appearances fool you. There’s always only one reality.”
    • Chapter 1, “Don’t Let Appearances Fool You” (p. 11)
  • Judging from the spiderwebs clinging to it, the emergency stairway was hardly ever used. To each web clung a small black spider, patiently waiting for its small prey to come along. Not that the spiders had any awareness of being “patient.” A spider had no special skill other than building its web, and no lifestyle choice other than sitting still. It would stay in one place waiting for its prey until, in the natural course of things, it shriveled up and died. This was all genetically predetermined. The spider had no confusion, no despair, no regrets. No metaphysical doubt, no moral complications. Probably. Unlike me.
    • Chapter 3, “Some Changed Facts” (p. 36)
  • I move, therefore I am.
    • Chapter 3, “Some Changed Facts” (p. 36)
  • It was her personal view that people who are overly choosy about the drinks they order in a bar tend to be sexually bland. She had no idea why this should be so.
    • Chapter 5, “A Profession Requiring Specialized Techniques and Training” (p. 70)
  • A butterfly came fluttering along and landed on the shoulder of her blue work shirt. It was a small, white butterfly with a few crimson spots on its wings. The butterfly seemed to know no fear as it went to sleep on her shoulder.
    “I’m sure you’ve never seen this kind of butterfly,” the dowager said, glancing toward her own shoulder. Her voice betrayed a touch of pride. “Even down in Okinawa, you’d have trouble finding one of these. It gets its nourishment from only one type of flower – a special flower that only grows in the mountains of Okinawa. You have to bring the flower here and grow it first if you want to keep this butterfly in Tokyo. It’s a lot of trouble. Not to mention the expense.”
    “It seems to be very comfortable with you.”
    “This little person thinks of me as a friend.”
    “Is it possible to become friends with a butterfly?”
    “It is if you first become a part of nature. You suppress your presence as a human being, stay very still, and convince yourself that you are a tree or grass or a flower. It takes time, but once the butterfly lets its guard down, you can become friends quite naturally.”
    “Do you give them names?” Aomame asked, curious. “Like dogs or cats?”
    The dowager gave her head a little shake. “No, I don’t give them names, but I can tell one from another by their shapes and patterns. And besides, there wouldn’t be much point in giving them names: they die so quickly. These people are your nameless friends for just a little while. I come here every day, say hello to the butterflies, and talk about things with them. When the time comes, though, they just quietly go off and disappear. I’m sure it means they’ve died, but I can never find their bodies. They don’t leave any trace behind. It’s as if they’ve been absorbed by the air. They’re dainty little creatures that hardly exist at all: they come out of nowhere, search quietly for a few, limited things, and disappear into nothingness again, perhaps to some other world.”
    • Chapter 7, “Quietly, So As Not to Wake the Butterfly” (p. 101)
  • She only felt revulsion for any kind of religious fundamentalists. The very thought of such people’s intolerant worldview, their inflated sense of their own superiority, and their callous imposition of their own beliefs on others was enough to fill her with rage.
    • Chapter 9, “New Scenery, New Rules” (p. 129)
  • “Fukada was supposedly looking for a utopia in the Takashima system,” the Professor said with a frown. “But utopias don’t exist, of course, anywhere in any world. Like alchemy or perpetual motion. What Takashima is doing, if you ask me, is making mindless robots. They take the circuits out of people’s brains that make it possible for them to think for themselves. Their world is like the one that George Orwell depicted in his novel. I’m sure you realize that there are plenty of people who are looking for exactly that kind of brain death. It makes life a lot easier. You don’t have to think about difficult things, just shut up and do what your superiors tell you to do. You never have to starve. To people who are searching for that kind of environment, the Takashima Academy may well be utopia.”
    • Chapter 10, “A Real Revolution with Real Bloodshed” (p. 153)
  • Drawing distinctions between religions and cults has always been a delicate business. There’s no hard and fast definition. Interpretation is everything. And where there is room for interpretation, there is always room for political persuasion.
    • Chapter 12, “Thy Kingdom Come” (p. 184)
  • Mathematics gave Tengo an effective means of retreat. By fleeing into a world of numerical expression, he was able to escape from the troublesome cage of reality.
    • Chapter 14, “Things That Most Readers Have Never Seen Before” (p. 221)
  • Of course, reading novels was just another form of escape. As soon as he closed their pages he had to come back to the real world. But at some point Tengo noticed that returning to reality from the world of a novel was not as devastating a blow as returning from the world of mathematics. Why should that have been? After much deep thought, he reached a conclusion. No matter how clear the relationships of things might become in the forest of story, there was never a clear-cut solution. That was how it differed from math. The role of a story was, in the broadest terms, to transpose a single problem into another form. Depending on the nature and direction of the problem, a solution could be suggested in the narrative. Tengo would return to the real world with that suggestion in hand. It was like a piece of paper bearing the indecipherable text of a magic spell. At times it lacked coherence and served no immediate practical purpose. But it would contain a possibility. Someday he might be able to decipher the spell. That possibility would gently warm his heart from within.
    • Chapter 14, “Things That Most Readers Have Never Seen Before” (pp. 222-223)
  • What did it mean for a person to be free? she would often ask herself. Even if you managed to escape from one cage, weren’t you just in another, larger one?
    • Chapter 15, “Firmly, Like Attaching an Anchor to a Balloon” (p. 231)
  • 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.
    • Chapter 15, “Firmly, Like Attaching an Anchor to a Balloon” (p. 240)
  • “Feelings like that don’t give you any choice, do they?” Aomame said. “They come at you whenever they want to. It’s not like choosing food from a menu.”
    “It is in one way: you have regrets after you make a mistake.”
    They shared a laugh.
    Aomame said, “It’s the same with menus and men and just about anything else: we think we’re choosing things for ourselves, but in fact we may not be choosing anything. It could be that everything’s decided in advance and we pretend we’re making choices. Free will may be an illusion. I often think that.”
    “If that’s true, life is pretty dark.”
    “Maybe so.”
    “But if you can love someone with your whole heart—even if he’s a terrible person and even if he doesn’t love you back—life is not a hell, at least, though it might be kind of dark. Is that what you’re saying?” Ayumi asked.
    “But still,” Ayumi said, “it seems to me that this world has a serious shortage of both logic and kindness.”
    “You may be right,” Aomame said. “But it’s too late to traded in for another one.”
    “The exchange window expired a long time ago,” Ayumi said.
    “And the receipt’s been thrown away.”
    “You said it.”
    “Oh, well, no problem,” Aomame said. “The world’s going to end before we know it.”
    • Chapter 15, “Firmly, Like Attaching an Anchor to a Balloon” (p. 241)
  • He had done everything asked of him, and now he just wanted to concentrate on his own work. Something told him, however, that it was not going to be that simple, and he knew that bad premonitions have a far higher accuracy rate than good ones.
    • Chapter 16, “I’m Glad You Liked It” (p. 251)
  • The dowager smiled. “What an interesting person you are!”
    Aomame said, “I’m a very ordinary human being. I just happen to like reading books. Especially history books.”
    “I like history books too. They teach us that we are basically the same, whether now or in the old days. There may be a few differences in clothing and lifestyle, but there’s not that much difference in what we think and do. Human beings are ultimately nothing but carriers—passageways—for genes. They ride us into the ground like racehorses from generation to generation. Genes don’t think about what constitutes good or evil. They don’t care whether we are happy or unhappy. We’re just a means to an end for them. The only thing they think about is what is most efficient for them.”
    “In spite of that, we can’t help but think about what is good and what is evil. Is that what you’re saying?”
    The dowager nodded. “Exactly. People have to think about those things. But genes are what control the basis for how we live. Naturally, a contradiction arises,” she said with a smile.
    • Chapter 17, “Whether We Are Happy or Unhappy” (pp. 268-269)
  • “To give you my honest opinion,” the dowager went on, “the Society of Witnesses is not a proper religion. If you had been badly injured or come down with an illness that required surgery, you might have lost your life then and there. Any religion that would prohibit life-saving surgery simply because it goes against the literal word of the Bible can be nothing other than a cult. This is an abuse of dogma that crosses the line.”
    • Chapter 19, “Women Sharing a Secret” (p. 304)
  • I’ve never had the slightest interest in matters of the occult. People have been repeating the same kinds of fraud throughout the world since the beginning of time, using the same old tricks, and still these despicable fakes continue to thrive. That is because most people believe not so much in truth as in things they wish were the truth. Their eyes may be wide open, but they don’t see a thing. Tricking them is as easy as twisting a baby’s arm.
    • Chapter 19, “Women Sharing a Secret” (p. 305)
  • The guru is a degenerate with perverted sexual tastes. There can be no doubt. The organization and the doctrines are nothing but a convenient guise for masking his individual desires.
    • Chapter 19, “Women Sharing a Secret” (p. 306)
  • The police department’s just another bureaucratic government agency, after all. The top brass don’t think of anything but their own careers. Some are not like that, but most of them have worked their way up playing it safe, and their goal is to find a cushy job in a related organization or private industry after they retire. So they don’t want to touch anything the least bit risky or hot. They probably don’t even eat pizza without letting it cool off.
    • Chapter 21, “No Matter How Far Away I Try to Go” (p. 343)
  • As a teacher, Tengo pounded into his students’ heads how voraciously mathematics demanded logic. Here things that could not be proven had no meaning, but once you had succeeded in proving something, the world’s riddles settled into the palm of your hand like a tender oyster. Tengo’s lectures took on uncommon warmth, and the students found themselves swept up in his eloquence. He taught them how to practically and effectively solve mathematical problems while simultaneously presenting a spectacular display of the romance concealed in the questions it posed. Tengo saw admiration in the eyes of several of his female students, and he realized that he was seducing these seventeen- or eighteen-year-olds through mathematics. His eloquence was a kind of intellectual foreplay. Mathematical functions stroked their backs; theorems sent warm breath into their ears.
    • Chapter 22, “That Time Could Take on Deformed Shapes As It Moved Ahead” (p. 350)
  • That’s what the world is, after all: an endless battle of contrasting memories.
    • Chapter 23, “This is Just the Beginning of Something” (p. 368)
  • The problem is with the weekly magazines. Their freelancers or journalists or whatever you call them will start circling like sharks smelling blood. They’re all good at what they do, and once they latch on, they don’t let go. Their livelihood depends on it, after all. They can’t afford to have little things like good taste or people’s privacy stand in their way.
    • Chapter 24, “What’s the Point of Its Being a World That Isn’t Here?” (p. 378)
  • What we call the present is given shape by an accumulation of the past.
    • Chapter 24, “What’s the Point of Its Being a World That Isn’t Here?” (p. 386)

Book 2 (July-September)

  • The total amount of time available is especially limited. The clock is ticking as we speak. Time rushes past. Opportunities are lost right and left. If you have money, you can buy time. You can even buy freedom if you want. Time and freedom: those are the most important things that people can buy with money.
    • Chapter 2, “I Don’t Have a Thing Except My Soul” (p. 416)
  • “I barely looked at him, but he seemed kind of creepy.”
    Tengo put the card into his wallet. “I suspect that impression wouldn’t change even if you had more time to look at him,” he said.
    “I always tell myself not to judge people by their appearance. I’ve been wrong in the past and had some serious regrets. But the minute I saw this man, I got the feeling that he couldn’t be trusted. I still feel that way.”
    “You’re not alone,” Tengo said.
    • Chapter 2, “I Don’t Have a Thing Except My Soul” (p. 423)
  • No matter how passionately or minutely he might attempt to rewrite the past, the present circumstances in which he found himself would remain generally unchanged. Time had the power to cancel all changes wrought by human artifice, overwriting all new revisions with further revisions, returning the flow to its original course. A few minor facts might be changed, but Tengo would still be Tengo.
    • Chapter 4, “It Might Be Better Not to Wish for Such a Thing” (p. 454)
  • “I’d like to wish you luck, but I am afraid a good luck wish from me won’t do any good,” Tamaru said.
    “Because you don’t believe in luck.”
    “Even if I wanted to, I don’t know what it’s like,” Tamaru said. “I’ve never seen it.”
    • Chapter 5, “The Vegetarian Cat Meets Up With the Rat” (p. 461)
  • Komatsu was good at keeping a straight face when saying things he didn’t believe, though this was a skill mastered by all experienced editors to some degree.
    • Chapter 6, “We Have Very Long Arms” (p. 470)
  • But who can possibly save all the people of the world? Tengo thought. You could bring all the gods of the world into one place, and still they couldn’t abolish nuclear weapons or eradicate terrorism. They couldn’t end the drought in Africa or bring John Lennon back to life. Far from it—the gods would just break into factions and start fighting among themselves, and the world would probably become even more chaotic than it is now. Considering the sense of powerlessness that such a state of affairs would bring about, to have people floating in a pool of question marks seems like a minor sin.
    • Chapter 6, “We Have Very Long Arms” (p. 475)
  • You’re still young and healthy. Maybe that’s why you don’t understand what I am saying. Let me give you an example. Once you pass a certain age, life becomes nothing more than a process of continual loss. Things that are important to your life begin to slip out of your grasp, one after another, like a comb losing teeth. And the only things that come to take their place are worthless imitations. Your physical strength, your hopes, your dreams, your ideals, your convictions, all meaning, or, then again, the people you love: one by one, they fade away. Some announce their departure before they leave, while others just disappear all of a sudden without warning one day. And once you lose them you can never get them back. Your search for replacements never goes well. It’s all very painful—as painful as actually being cut with a knife. You will be turning thirty soon, Mr. Kawana, which means that, from now on, you will gradually enter that twilight portion of life—you will be getting older. You are probably beginning to grasp that painful sense that you are losing something, are you not?
    • Chapter 6, “We Have Very Long Arms” (p. 482)
  • Tengo went on, ”I’m tired of living in hatred and resentment. 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.”
    • Chapter 8, “Time for the Cats to Come” (pp. 511-512)
  • “If you ask me, any religion that takes the end of the world as one of its central tenets is more or less bogus. In my view, the only thing that ever ‘ends’ is the individual. That said, the Society of Witnesses is an amazingly tough religion. Its history is not very long, but it has withstood many tests and has steadily continue to increase the number of its believers. There is a lot that can be learned from that.”
    “It probably just shows how close-minded they’ve been. The smaller and narrower such a group is, the more firmly they can resist outside pressure.”
    “You are probably right about that,” the man said, pausing for a few moments.
    • Chapter 9, “What Comes as a Payment for Heavenly Grace” (p. 523)
  • Tengo found himself silently wishing that this peaceful time could go on forever. If he said it aloud, some keen-eared demon somewhere might overhear him. And so he kept his wish for continued tranquility to himself. But things never go the way you want them to, and this was no exception. The world seemed to have a better sense of how you wanted things not to go.
    • Chapter 10, “You Have Declined Our Offer” (p. 533)
  • I can bear any pain as long as it has meaning.
    • Chapter 11, “Balance Itself is the Good” (p. 546)
  • Most people are not looking for provable truths. As you said, truth is often accompanied by intense pain, and almost no one is looking for painful truths. What people need is beautiful, comforting stories that make them feel as if their lives have some meaning. Which is where religion comes from.
    • Chapter 11, “Balance Itself is the Good” (p. 550)
  • No one knows for certain what it means to die until they actually do it.
    • Chapter 13, “Without Your Love” (p. 589)
  • Everything ended in silence. The beasts and spirits heaved a deep breath, broke up their encirclement, and returned to the depths of a forest that had lost its heart.
    • Chapter 13, “Without Your Love” (p. 591)

Book 3 (October-December)

  • It’s no fun growing old, no fun at all. The drawers where you store memories get harder to open.
    • Chapter 1, “Something Kicking at the Far Edges of Consciousness” (p. 752)
  • Tengo started to have doubts about the difference between a person being alive and being dead. Maybe there really wasn’t much of a difference to begin with, he thought. Maybe we just decided, for convenience’s sake, to insist on a difference.
    • Chapter 3, “The Animals All Wore Clothes” (p. 772)
  • Air Chrysalis had long since disappeared from the bestseller lists. Number one on the list now was a diet book entitled Eat as Much as You Want of the Food You Love and Still Lose Weight. What a great title. The whole book could be blank inside and it would still sell.
    • Chapter 3, “The Animals All Wore Clothes” (p. 776)
  • In Ushikawa’s experience, nobody hated paying taxes more than the rich.
    • Chapter 4, “Occam’s Razor” (p. 787)
  • Aomame’s family—as far as Ushikawa could see it, that is—were narrow-minded in their thinking, narrow-minded in the way they lived. They were people who had no doubt whatsoever that the more narrow-minded they became, the closer they got to heaven.
    • Chapter 7, “I’m Heading Your Way” (p. 835)
  • “Not very heartwarming facts, are they.”
  • “Well, with facts what’s important is their weight and accuracy. Warmth is secondary.”
    • Chapter 8, “Not Such a Bad Door” (p. 844)
  • So he always kept his mouth shut. He kept his ears open and listened closely to whatever anyone else had to say, aiming to learn something from everything he heard. This habit eventually became a useful tool. Through this, he discovered a number of important realities, including this one: most people in the world don’t really use their brains to think. And people who don’t think are the ones who don’t listen to others.
    • Chapter 10, “Gathering Solid Leads” (p. 868)
  • “There is always just a thin line separating deep faith from intolerance,” Ushikawa said. “And it’s very hard for people to do anything about it.”
    • Chapter 10, “Gathering Solid Leads” (p. 879)
  • From Ushikawa’s perspective, they were irretrievably shallow. To him, their minds were dull, their vision narrow and devoid of imagination, and all they cared about was what other people thought. More than anything, they were completely lacking in the sort of healthy skepticism needed to attain any degree of wisdom.
    • Chapter 13, “Is This What They Mean By Back to Square One?” (pp. 912-913)
  • Before he had realized it, these exercises had given him the talent to be skeptical about his own self, and he had come to the recognition that most of what is generally considered the truth is entirely relative. Subject and object are not as distinct as most people think. If the boundary separating the two isn’t clear-cut to begin with, it is not such a difficult task to intentionally shift back and forth from one to the other.
    • Chapter 13, “Is This What They Mean By Back to Square One?” (p. 913)
  • Tengo gazed at the moons, not paying much attention to the sound of the wind, sitting there until his whole body was chilled to the bone. It must have been around fifteen minutes. No, maybe more. His sense of time had left him. His body, initially warmed by the whiskey, now felt hard and cold, like a lonely boulder at the bottom of the sea.
    The clouds continued to scud off toward the south. No matter how many were blown away, others appeared to take their place. There was an inexhaustible source of clouds in some land far to the north. Decisive people, minds fixed on the task, clothed in thick, gray uniforms, working silently from morning to night to make clouds, like bees make honey, spiders make webs, and war makes widows.
    • Chapter 15, “Not Something He’s Allowed to Talk About” (pp. 937-938)
  • I’m just a machine. A capable, patient, unfeeling machine. A machine that draws in new time through one end, then spits out old time from the other end. It exists in order to exist.
    • Chapter 16, “A Capable, Patient, Unfeeling Machine” (p. 963)
  • “Tell me, Tengo, as a novelist, what is your definition of reality?”
    “When you prick a person with a needle, red blood comes out—that’s the real world,” Tengo replied.
    • Chapter 18, “When You Prick a Person With a Needle, Red Blood Comes Out” (p. 996)
  • The pursuer’s blind spot is that he never thinks he’s being pursued.
    • Chapter 20, “One Aspect of My Transformation” (p. 1025)
  • “It’s very difficult to logically explain the illogical.”
    “Exactly. As difficult as finding a real pearl in a Roppongi oyster bar.”
    • Chapter 26, “Very Romantic” (p. 1104)
  • You said you’re going far away,” Tamaru said. “How far away are we talking about?”
    “It’s a distance that can’t be measured.”
    “Like the distance that separates one person’s heart from another’s.”
    • Chapter 26, “Very Romantic” (p. 1108)
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