Ten hours of intimate interviews with Haruki Murakami that reveal unique insights into the popular novelist's elusive methodology, or eccentric lack of it, have been compiled into a book.

Murakami reveals his writing is kind of off-the-cuff, in that he is so wrapped-up laying the words down and has no space to think in detail about the underlying meanings.

“I was surprised by his bottomlessness, or rather how free he is,” Mieko Kawakami, the young female novelist who conducted the interviews, told The Asahi Shimbun. “I think his freedom is aided by the vast amount of books he has read.”

“Mimizuku wa Tasogare ni Tobitatsu" (Haruki Murakami: A Long, Long Interview by Mieko Kawakami), contains all four interviews conducted over 10 hours by Kawakami, who won the prestigious Akutagawa Prize in 2008.

One of the highlights of the book is when Kawakami awkwardly yet adamantly asks Murakami about why his female characters tend to play "too much of a sexual role.”

“It is a frequently raised issue, so I believed it was absolutely my job to ask about it,” Kawakami told The Asahi Shimbun.

“It’s not necessary for a novel to follow the value system in real life, but it’s no good if it’s totally detached. We were able to have a conversation where that discussion was aired.”

Kawakami also asked Murakami some questions shared by all Murakami fans--such as the well-like hole in the ground that appears in his latest novel, "Kishidancho Goroshi" (Killing Commendatore), which was released in Japan in February.

Dark, underground spaces play important roles in the plots of previous Murakami novels, including “Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World” and “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.” Why this habit? Kawakami asked the famous novelist.

“A hole appeared again in your latest novel,” says Kawakami in the interview.

Murakami responds: “Now that you say it, that’s right. I wrote another story about a hole ... I forget what I wrote years ago.”

In the interviews, Kawakami often points out certain connotations revealed in Murakami’s narratives, and the novelist is quick to agree with her, “Indeed, that’s right now that you say it.” Then, Kawakami persists in asking, “Did you really not think about that?”

“If there are such tricks (in the plot), (readers) would see through all of them right away,” Murakami said.

Murakami also openly discusses his creative process--showing almost all the cards he has, so it seems--in response to Kawakami’s straight-up questions.

“The interview followed the formality where I was the interviewer asking questions and Murakami answering, but still it was not possible to completely exclude myself--as a novelist--from the questions themselves,” said Kawakami. “It is a dangerous business for writers to seriously talk about this kind of thing. I have my territory of creation and Murakami, of course, has his vast one. It can't be easy to dive into all of that.”

Asked if she would want to interview Murakami again, Kawakami said, “I would never do it again. No way!” Yet, she did give the impression that she felt a certain accomplishment herself in conducting the long four-part interview.

The first interview was held in 2015 at the time of publication in Japan of Murakami’s collection of essays “Shokugyo toshiteno Shosetsuka (Novelist as a profession),” and the other interviews were conducted in early 2017.