Writing as self-therapy: Competing therapeutic paradigms in Murakami Haruki's Rat trilogy

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Murakami Haruki's first three novels, commonly referred to as the Rat trilogy, deal with the growing pains of a young man suffering from personal and cultural loss. In the psychological journey of the narrator we see a number of elements that remind us of other authors: a response to loss reminiscent of Peter Homan's description of de-idealization; an attempt at growth and development reminiscent of both Carl Jung's writings on individuation and Joseph Campbell's description of the monomyth or hero's journey; and blocks and barriers reminiscent of Freud's writings on mourning and melancholia. Later, as this narrator is reunited with his alter ego Rat, he also experiences a radical abandonment of self that is reminiscent of Jacques Lacan's description of an act. This trilogy offers three competing models of what self-therapy might mean: the catharsis of self-expression, the promise of self-completion and the radical possibility of self-abandonment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-64
Number of pages22
JournalJapan Forum
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Mar 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Murakami haruki
  • Rat trilogy
  • Therapeutic paradigms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science


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