margin.notes (my fave blog for translated Japanese literature) however, thinks its inclusion not only stretches the definition of fantasy, but also crowds out lesser-known fantasy authors because of his "big name" status:
Further, I fear that lesser known writers-dearly loved by the fantasy readership but not well-known outside of it-will have their works crowded out by the name authors who merely have to give a small hat tip to fantasy (a dream sequence here, and UFO sighting there) and get their novels stacking the awards lists. For a novel to qualify as fantasy in my own personal catalog has to be set primarily in a fantasy universe, and /or use mythical creatures or supernatural abilities as a fundamental part of the plot line.Though I agree that Murakami might be overshadowing the lesser-known, perhaps more established, fantasy writers, I think that Kafka on the Shore is definitely a fantasy novel, through and through. Talking cats, a crow alterego, Colonel Sanders, lost Japanese soldiers from World War II, and a whole bunch of crazy surreal sequences qualify as fantasy to me. Fantasy isn't just for the dragon-breeding, Tolkien-hugging crowd anymore.