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TOKYO: Celebrated Japanese author Haruki Murakami will release his first new novel in six years this April, publisher Shinchosha announced on Wednesday.

There was little detail given about the new work, which will be Murakami’s first novel since ‘Killing Commendatore’ was published in February 2017.

In a brief statement in Japanese, Shinchosha said the new work would be published on April 13, but gave neither its title nor details of the plot.

The book is expected to be published in Japanese initially, with translations following later.

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Shinchosha told AFP it could not confirm when translations of the book might be released, or even when the name of the book would be announced.

The title will be 1,200 Japanese manuscript pages long, but the exact number of book pages that will amount to was also not yet confirmed, the publisher added.

Murakami is an internationally renowned writer who is perennially pegged for the Nobel literature prize.

The 74-year-old has a cult following for his surreal works peppered with references to pop culture, which have been translated into around 50 languages.

Readers are drawn into the so-called ‘Murakami world’ where giant frogs challenge salarymen in battle and mackerel rain down from the sky.

Murakami is known as a reclusive figure, but the author has delighted fans in recent years by moonlighting as a radio DJ.

And in 2021, a cavernous new library filled with his novels, scrapbooks and vinyl opened at Waseda University in Tokyo – featuring a replica of the writer’s minimalist workspace, a cafe, and a radio studio.

For the 2017 release of ‘Killing Commendatore’, major bookstores in Tokyo stayed open past midnight to allow eager fans to get their hands on the book immediately.

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Details of the plot were kept under wraps to respect Murakami’s desire for “readers to discover it without knowing anything beforehand”, Shinchosha said at the time.

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