Estimated read time: 4 min read

One Sentence Summary

A collection of interconnected short stories exploring the lives of individuals affected by the 1995 Kobe earthquake.


In "After the Quake," renowned Japanese author Haruki Murakami presents a collection of six mesmerizing short stories that delve into the lives of ordinary people grappling with the aftermath of the devastating 1995 Kobe earthquake in Japan. With his unique blend of magical realism and introspection, Murakami weaves together tales of love, loss, and the search for meaning in a world shaken to its core.

Brief Synopsis

Set against the backdrop of the Kobe earthquake, each story in "After the Quake" offers a glimpse into the lives of characters grappling with the emotional and psychological aftermath of the disaster. From a divorced couple reevaluating their relationship to a man who develops an unlikely bond with a giant frog, Murakami explores themes of interconnectedness and the search for solace in times of chaos.

Main Events

ChaptersStory Points
Chapter 1: "UFO in Kushiro"A man named Komura, who feels unfulfilled in his life, encounters a mysterious woman who claims to have seen a UFO.
Chapter 2: "Landscape with Flatiron"Junpei, a writer struggling to find inspiration, reunites with his high school crush following the earthquake.
Chapter 3: "All God's Children Can Dance"Yoshiya, a man whose estranged son believes he is the reincarnation of John Coltrane, grapples with his own faith.
Chapter 4: "Thailand"A man named Takatsuki receives a phone call from his friend, Kitaru, who has been living in Thailand since the earthquake.
Chapter 5: "Super-Frog Saves Tokyo"Katagiri, a disillusioned bank employee, embarks on a surreal journey with a giant frog on a mission to save Tokyo from an impending earthquake.
Chapter 6: "Honey Pie"Junpei, the protagonist from "Landscape with Flatiron," reflects on his encounter with Sayoko, his high school crush.

Main Characters

  1. Komura: A disheartened man who encounters a woman claiming to have seen a UFO.
  2. Junpei: A writer struggling with his creativity and reconnects with his high school crush.
  3. Yoshiya: A man whose estranged son believes he is the reincarnation of John Coltrane.
  4. Takatsuki: A man who receives a call from his friend living in Thailand after the earthquake.
  5. Katagiri: A disillusioned bank employee who embarks on a surreal journey with a giant frog.
  6. Sayoko: Junpei's high school crush, who reenters his life after the earthquake.

Themes and Insights


Murakami explores the idea of interconnectedness, showing how the earthquake serves as a catalyst for bringing people together. The characters' lives intersect in unexpected ways, highlighting the power of human connection during times of crisis.

Search for Meaning

The earthquake acts as a catalyst for introspection and self-discovery. Murakami delves into the characters' search for meaning in the face of tragedy, as they grapple with existential questions and seek solace in their newfound perspectives.

Surrealism and Magical Realism

Drawing upon his signature style, Murakami infuses elements of surrealism and magical realism into the stories. This enhances the exploration of the characters' emotional and psychological states, creating a dreamlike atmosphere that blurs the boundaries between reality and fantasy.

Reader's Takeaway

"After the Quake" is a captivating collection of stories that explores the profound impact of a natural disaster on the lives of ordinary individuals. Murakami's lyrical prose and masterful storytelling transport readers into a world where reality intertwines with the surreal. The book invites readers to reflect on themes of interconnectedness, the search for meaning, and the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity.


Haruki Murakami's "After the Quake" offers a poignant and thought-provoking exploration of the aftermath of the Kobe earthquake. Through his mesmerizing stories and unique blend of magical realism, Murakami delves into the lives of his characters, revealing their profound moments of connection, introspection, and self-discovery. This collection is a testament to Murakami's literary prowess and his ability to capture the complexity of the human experience in times of crisis.

After the Quake FAQ

  1. What is 'After the Quake' about?

    'After the Quake' is a collection of six short stories by Haruki Murakami. The stories are set in the aftermath of the 1995 Kobe earthquake in Japan and explore themes of love, loss, and the search for meaning in a chaotic world.

  2. Are the stories in 'After the Quake' interconnected?

    No, the stories in 'After the Quake' are standalone and can be read independently. However, they share a common backdrop of the earthquake and its impact on the characters' lives.

  3. What genres does 'After the Quake' belong to?

    'After the Quake' is primarily categorized as contemporary fiction and magical realism. It blends elements of realism with fantastical and surreal elements, creating a unique reading experience.

  4. Are there any recurring themes in 'After the Quake'?

    Yes, some recurring themes in 'After the Quake' include the power of storytelling, human connection, and the exploration of personal and societal identity in the face of tragedy.

  5. Is 'After the Quake' suitable for all readers?

    While 'After the Quake' is generally suitable for adult readers, it is important to note that some stories may contain mature themes and content. Reader discretion is advised.

  6. Is 'After the Quake' a good introduction to Haruki Murakami's work?

    Yes, 'After the Quake' can serve as a good introduction to Haruki Murakami's writing style and themes. It showcases his unique blend of realism and magical elements, making it a great starting point for new readers.

  7. Are there any English translations of 'After the Quake' available?

    Yes, 'After the Quake' has been translated into English by Jay Rubin. The translation captures the essence of Murakami's writing and allows English-speaking readers to enjoy the stories.