You can tell the editor by his clothes

by Kelvin Smith

A major element of 1Q84 is the writing, editing and publication success of a short fiction called Air Chrysalis. Strange things happen in both the fictional story and in Murakami’s great novel. Although he is instrumental in initiating the publishing arrangements, the editor Komatsu (“one of the top people in the industry“) remains outside of the centre of the action and “no one knew a thing about his private life“.

We do however learn that this Tokyo editor has a mode of dress that may be familiar to publishers around the world.

Komatsu came at seven fifteen. He had on a tweed jacket, a light cashmere sweater, a cashmere muffler, wool trousers, and suede shoes. His usual outfit. High-quality, tasteful clothes, nicely worn out. When he wore these, the clothes looked like he had been born in them. Maybe any new clothes he bought he then slept in and rolled around in. Maybe he washed them over and over and laid them out to dry in the shade. Only once they were broken in and faded would he wear them in front of others. At any rate, the clothes did make him look like a veteran editor. From the way he dressed, that was the only possible thing he could be.

Haruki Murakami, 1Q84, 2011