The Little People in Haruki Murakami’s “1Q84”

Sara Bozhinova
Feb 10, 2017 · 2 min read
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Image by Alex Mercado

“Please remember: things are not what they seem.”

“What we call the present is given shape by an accumulation of the past.”

“That’s what the world is , after all: an endless battle of contrasting


One of Murakami’s inspiration for writing this ambitious novel is, of course, George Orwell’s “1984”.

The parallel world where the feel everything is so surreal hides behind the year number. However,there is a very clear opposition to the Big Brother and this is the Little people.

The image of the Little people is the one that disclose the reason for all irregularities. Little people are a complex illustrative example of the wicked human behavior. They look like people, like us, and they need somehow a life recipient for accessing the present world. The divine nature of The Little people is rather compromised by assigning to them typical human features — one of which is the laugh they are having (Ho-ho) and which is a probable sign for sense of humor.

What are they really and what is their purpose?

There is no clear answer to these questions in the book. Murakami gives us clues for possible interpretation and thus the interpretations are many. One possibility is that the Little People are representing the collective consciousness that each one of us carry without necessarily reflecting on it.

In Japan the collective consciousness has its strong foundations as understanding the Japanese community as sacral. However, the transcendental notion of carrying out some divine mission, typical for some Western cultures, was avoided and the sacred particularity followed Chinese Buddhism and Confucianism.

What we carry as emanation of the collective human mind might be good or bad, or both, or simply what we are afraid of and what we cannot control.

Hence the “mazda” and the “dohta” are born from a chrysalis — this is the physical division of the self and the collective mind which aim to be together all the time and neither of them is complete without the other.

It is not strange that the Little People can open a portal only in the dark, most probable close to a forest and when the person is alone — the places and the times when the human brains don’t suppress dangerous thoughts and then this weakness can be used.

Our consciousness cannot be split — we carry all the actions of the Little People with us all the time.

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