Recently the Mainichi News on-line reported the following:
毎日新聞 2014年02月19日 21時04分（最終更新 02月20日 08時36分）
About the incident that six members of a town hall assembly had made a protest against "being humiliated" etc. regarding how the Hokkaido’s Nakatonbetsu town was described in the short novel written by Mr. Haruki Murakami the writer, Miyazaki Yashuhiro, being a member of the town hall assembly (30) and the joint representative, disclosed clearly on the 19th in his own blog that a reply was received from Bungeishunju the publishing agency, and that a "case closed announcement" was made because “there was a quick and sincere response".
The novel was published by a monthly magazine the "Bungeishunju" in last year’s December issue. Inside, tobacco littering was mentioned by saying that "in Nakatonbetsu-city, everybody is doing this regularly". Mr. Murakami announced on the 7th of this month his intention to change the name of the town when the single volume story book was published. Bungeishunju also commented that "the author's expression is respected and supported".
Regarding the protests, a reply from the Bungeishunju reached members of the town hall assembly by mail on the 10th and the contents were same as the views mentioned above. Members of the
town assembly had written a reply to
the publishing company with a note: please told Mr. Murakami "by all means
visit our town once, it would be our pleasure". Miyazaki
The members of the
town hall assembly commented that
“to rename the town is the writer’s judgment, there is no comments on the
renaming and that we have made no demands, either”. It was also said that
"what is suffice is that the writer understands that this town has not made
tobacco littering into something "common". Miyazaki
I do not understand why these town hall assembly members took such a serious view about a place-name in a story which is a kind of literature and not news reporting. I think Mr. Murakami’s response to this incident is appropriate.