Murakami’s characters appear content, though they are portrayed ironically. They commute to ordinary jobs, drink whiskey and beer, and listen to American music. Solitary creatures, they shut out the world with psychological barriers and self-imposed isolation. Nothing is obviously wrong with their lives, but something is amiss. Many try to fill their only vaguely sensed longing through mindless repetitive action and consumerism, not realizing that what they believe to be “identity” is largely a by-product of ideology that supports the interests of the state and capitalism.