Haruki Murakami.—Photo by Reuters

TOKYO: The Japanese publisher of the new novel by Haruki Murakami said Thursday it had ordered one million copies of the book, less than a week after it went on sale.

Bungeishunju Ltd. said “Shikisai wo Motanai Tazaki Tsukuru to Kare no Junrei no Toshi (Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage)” is likely to become one of the fastest selling Japanese novels in recent years.

Before publication the company said it had 500,000 copies in the works. It ordered a further 300,000 shortly afterwards, to meet surging demand for a book that was top of Amazon Japan's best-seller list before anyone knew more than the title.

With the decision on Thursday to print 200,000 additional copies, Bungeishunju will have shipped a total one million copies of the Murakami book by early May, the company said.

Actual sales of the book were not immediately clear, but a spokesman for the publisher said nearly 350,000 copies of the book had been sold during the first three days of the release.

At least one large book shop opened at midnight last Friday to give avid readers of the surrealist writer a chance to get their hands on the eagerly awaited novel.

The 370-page book tells the story of a young man struggling with an ordeal in his past, who uses the support offered by a romance to get back on his feet.

Murakami's novels, which have drawn international acclaim and been translated into around 40 languages, include “Norwegian Wood”, “Kafka on the Shore”, “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle” and the three-part “1Q84”.

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