Murakami, Obama and self help top Japan bestselling books list
Thursday 31 December 2009
In addition to tomes by Haruki Murakami and US President Barack Obama, self-help publications dominated the list of bestselling books in Japan for 2009.
Novels are rarely among the top picks for Japanese readers, but Murakami has broken that trend with 1Q84: Book 1, his much-anticipated work published after a five-year hiatus.
Released in May, publisher Shinchosha was forced to add an extra 100,000 copies to the print run before it even hit shelves due to a flood of advance orders. It helped that Murakami, whom many consider to be one of the greatest living novelists, had refused to even hint at the plot line after criticism that leaked details of his previous best-seller, Kafka on the Shore, spoiled the novelty value.
Described as a "complex and surreal narrative" that "shifts back and forth between tales of two characters, a man and a woman, who are searching for each other," well over 2.2 million copies of the book had been sold by mid-December.
Murakami also held third spot in the popularity charts with "1Q84: Book 2," according to Kinokuniya Books, with second place going to the more studious - and clumsily titled - Frequently Mistaken Kanji that we Should be Able to Read but Can't.
Japan's kanji characters are notoriously difficult to write and remember - it takes knowledge of around 6,000 to be able to read a newspaper and nobody seems to have the definitive answer on how many of the pictograms actually exist. And Japanese have a terror of reading a character incorrectly, rendering the meaning of a phrase completely different.
Tapping into the same sentiment, the illustrated Japanese that Japanese People Don't Know, by Nagiko Umino, places eighth on the list.
The Japanese translation of Marci Shimoff's Happy for No Reason is in fourth place, providing a seven-step plan to achieving happiness and better health, more fulfilling relationships and more success.
US President Obama slips surprisingly into fifth place with Obama's Speeches, the Asahi newspaper's release of a collection of his orations before and after his election as the most powerful man in the world.
The dieting book Maku Dake Diet, by Chizuru Yamamoto came in sixth, followed by Ryuho Okawa's The Laws of Courage. The top ten was rounded out by Kanae Minato's Confession and The Power of Worry, by Kan Sanjun.
Will explain back story to fictional kingdom Westeros
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
- 2 Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
- 3 Topshop at centre of row over body image as 'shocking' skinny mannequin photo goes viral
- 4 If you think Russell Brand’s new book is confused, you should read what his critics have to say about it
- 5 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
This is what a film sex scene actually looks like on set (mostly awkward)
Cumberbacklash: Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange riles Marvel fans
Best horror films of all time
Benedict Cumberbatch describes the 'explosive' Sherlock sex scene that will never happen
Downton Abbey season 5 episode 6 - review: Thomas and Lady Edith show sad signs of the times
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Maureen Lipman says 'she can't vote Labour while Ed Miliband is leader'
Muslims, immigration and teenage pregnancy: British people are ignorant about almost everything