View Single Post
Old 02-18-2011, 12:36 AM   #16
Peter Goldsbury
Peter Goldsbury's Avatar
Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 2,243
Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 19

Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post
Well, if only to play devil's advocate, I'd say if one believed that there was a market in Japan for English language books on Japan, then the organization of a typical provincial Japanese bookstore would display this belief quite well. As would the bookshelves of many ex-patriates in Japan. Every ex-patriate's bookshelf that I've seen here usually has one or two books on Japan. There's a selection bias here: foreigners who come to Japan generally have an interest in Japan, and seek out books on Japan. So, on that score, I don't find it so unusual that English sections of Japanese bookstores show a preponderance of books on Japan.
Yes, indeed, but I think it would not be unusual anyway, given the nature of the Japanese language and how few people are supposed to be able to read Japanese. I am sure there is a market for English language books on Japan and the two main bookstores in central Hiroshima cater for this market to varying degrees. There is all the usual stuff on martial arts, flower-arranging, tea ceremony, coffee-table books on Tokyo and Kyoto and English editions of Benedict, Nakane and Doi. For many years Maruzen used to offer a selection of more strictly academic stuff, such as you find in the Times Sq. branch of Kinokuniya in Tokyo. When the store closed and reopened in another location, several years later, the academic books had disappeared. As they have from Junkudo, also, which has a large store near Hiroshima Station. So it is safe to conclude that the population of Hiroshima is not big enough to sustain keeping such sections of English-language academic books, whether on Japan or any other subject. There is another large chain of bookstores in Hiroshima which has no foreign language books at all. The sections on Nihonbunkaron etc are very well represented, however.

I am uncertain how relevant are statistics on tourists, as distinct from those who possess alien registration cards and who would more readily qualify for the term 'expatriate'. I do have very accurate statistics, for Hiroshima City and Hiroshima Prefecture, of both population and nationality, as a result of my chairmanship of a city committee dealing with foreign residents (mentioned in the column). As a matter of fact, evidence of the attitudes underlying nihonjinron is much clearer from the operation of this committee, which enjoys direct interface with Japanese bureaucracy, where everything is in Japanese, and where the representation of English native speakers is much lower.

Best wishes,


Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 02-18-2011 at 12:46 AM.

P A Goldsbury
Kokusai Dojo,
  Reply With Quote