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Japanese Book Industry Says, "Thank you, World Cup"

Posted June. 04, 2002 23:24,   


The Japanese literary glutton is one of the largest in the world. In Japan, mass medias such as TV and movies are well developed, but the book is still a large part of the Japanese everyday life. In subway trains, you can easily find people bringing out pocket books, or magazines from their pockets. Japan has cob-web like subways and electric train system in a small rural cities, not to mention the great cities like Tokyo and Osaka and such environment has brought up their unique book reading culture. Since the number of readers is colossal, various types of books of many different subjects are being published. If there were a currently hot social issue, books on the subject would pour out, which is a very unique phenomenon.

Recently, Japanese bookstores and publishers are privileged by the `World cup Special Procurement`. Magazines related to football are selling fast.

Currently, there are over 50 types of football related sports magazines published in Japan. Myriad independent volumes on football fill up one section of any large bookstore. It is meaningless to compare the situation with Korea, where only few football magazines and irregular publications are available, but current number of books is 5 times that of the usual. Comparing it with that of 4 years ago when there was the World cup matches in France, it still is 3 times more that what is was then.

Even the publication frequency has increased. For instance, a weekly magazine called `Soccer Magazine` has been published twice a week, with the beginning of the World cup. The editor of the `Soccer Magazine` has become a topic himself by selling the magazines in the bookstores. Biweekly magazines such as `Number` and `Sports Yeah` have become weekly magazines.

The supply is increased by the increase in the demand. According to an insider of the bookstore industry, sales amount of `Soccer Magazine` has been increased by 5 times. The sales of soccer related magazines and books have increased after the entry of Japanese representatives has been announced. The Japanese book industry is now facing a war with the World cup.

Sung-Won Joo swon@donga.com