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Publication of Japanese books resumes in South Korea

Posted October. 07, 2020 07:29,   

Updated October. 07, 2020 07:29


The publication of Japanese books, which has been rare lately due to the “No Japan” movement in response to Japan’s export controls in July last year, is beginning to resume. Japanese novels that have been put on hold for months due to the worsening relations between South Korea and Japan are being released.

Minumsa Publishing published Japanese writer Yukio Mishima’s novel “Spring Snow” for the first time in South Korea last month. While the writer was nominated for Nobel Prize in Literature several times since he was globally recognized for his novel “The Temple of the Golden Pavilion” in 1957, only a few books of his were published in South Korea due to his far-right viewpoint, calling for the rule by a Japanese emperor, for instance. He sneaked into the base of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force and delivered a speech calling for its rise before committing suicide by disembowelment in November 1970.

Aside from the writers with a broad South Korean fan base, such as Keigo Higashino and Miyuki Miyabe whose books were published this year, South Koreans have increasing opportunities to read less-known Japanese writers’ novels. In August this year, “The Queen of Number” by Ai Kawazoe, “Their Crime” by Dai Yokozeki, “The Garden of Destruction” by Kotaro Tsunekawa, “Killing Tinkerbell” by Kobayashi Yasumi, and “Ways of Parting” by Nanami Wakatake were published.

According to Kyobo Book Centre’s data, the number of new Japanese novels published had fallen consistently from 121 in November last year to 61 in March this year. However, it showed a sign of recovery with 86 new books published in June.

The South Korean publishing industry, however, still believes that there is a high barrier when it comes to Japanese novels. Booksfear, a publisher specialized in genre literature that has been publishing Japanese mystery stories since 2004, released “Silent Breath” by Kyoko Minami in July and “Lacrimal Point” by Miyuki Miyabe in September. These books were scheduled to be published at the end of last year but delayed for over six months.

Go-Ya Choi best@donga.com