Photo/IllutrationHaruki Murakami fans who gathered at Hatonomori Hachimanjinja shrine in Tokyo shortly after 8 p.m. on Oct. 13 react as they hear the author did not win the Nobel Prize in Literature. (Reina Kitamura)

  • Photo/Illustraion

In an annual ritual, Haruki Murakami fans across the nation had to turn the page until next year, upon hearing that their favorite novelist had once again failed to win the Nobel literature prize.

About 100 or so "Harukists" at Hatonomori Hachimanjinja shrine in Tokyo on Oct. 13 had their hopes dashed upon hearing that Bob Dylan had been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature instead.

“It’s too bad he couldn’t win the award, but I’ll keep reading his books as I’ve always done,” said Tomoko Ono, a 38-year-old office worker from the capital.

The shrine is located in the Sendagaya neighborhood, where Murakami had once operated a jazz cafe. The gathering there was organized by local shop owners in anticipation of the 67-year-old writer finally winning the elusive prize, or so they hoped.

Yet many Murakami fans remain undaunted.

At the Tsutaya video and music rental store in Tokyo’s Sangenjaya district, the shopkeepers set up a special booth dedicated to the Nobel literature award the same night.

On the top shelves were Dylan’s CDs and the word “congratulations!”

Below that were Murakami’s books and words of encouragement toward winning the Nobel Prize next year.