Popular Japanese writer Haruki Murakami, author of the best-selling "Norwegian Wood" and "A Wild Sheep Chase" was named winner of the 2009 Jerusalem Prize on Wednesday.
The Jerusalem Prize for the Freedom of the Individual in Society is a biennial literary award traditionally bestowed upon authors whose work has dealt with human freedom, society, politics, and government.
Murakami, who rarely accepts accolades in person, will arrive in Jerusalem in February as the guest of the International Book Fair, where Mayor Nir Barkat will present him with the award.
The City of Jerusalem has been giving the award out since 1963. Past winners include such literary giants as Arthur Miller, Susan Sontag, Bertrand Russell, Simone de Beauvoir, Octavio Paz, Stefan Heym and Mario Vargas Llosa.
Murakami, 60, is considered an icon of modern literature and has 20 titles to his name – all of which have been translated into over 40 languages.
"Murakami is the best-known and most beloved Japanese author in the West," wrote the Prize Committee. "His work interweaves Japanese culture with contemporary Western culture in a unique fashion.
"While Murakami's work is easy to read it is not easy to comprehend. His clear, minimalist writing makes him vastly accessible, but the reader is struck with the complexity of his literary world upon reading it."