Japan's premier novelist was born on January 12, 1949 in the city of Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture. Murakami began writing at the age of 29 after attending a baseball game. The story goes that an American came up to bat, hit a double, and Murakami realized he could write a novel. Here's how Murakami describes himself before that fateful moment: "I didn't write anything. I was just one of those ordinary people. I was running a jazz club, and I didn't create anything at all."