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Cool Ja-pon: 100 Japanese books with global appeal

17 Comments

A book fair featuring 100 Japanese books with just the thing to attract a worldwide readership is being held at the Yurindo bookstore in Akihabara – the event runs through to June 30. Yurindo bookstore is located on inside of the electronics retailer Yodobashi-Akiba.

Ever wanted to inform folks back home about Japan? Curious about what Japanese folks are reading and about Japan’s weirdly-themed books? Want to introduce some freaky Japanese books? Then this is the book fair for you!

The 100 books were selected based on the below criteria:

・ Books you can enjoy without having to read Japanese

・ Photobooks and other visually entertaining books

・ Books about niche topics that nobody outside of Japan possibly has ever written

・ Books that are probably the best in their genre published worldwide

・ Books that you would want to show off to others when you travel abroad

・ Japanese books that appeal to people who are interested in Japan and Japanese, foreign expats in Japan and Japanese expats overseas

In particular, many of the selected books are about collectors of niche subjects and products such as airline timetables, rubber-band toy guns, erotic mnemonics for learning world history, the world’s odd-flavored colas and bootleg toys.

“Japan is already known for its otaku culture but its collectors’ culture is worth global attention,” says Yoshiro Hamazaki, a Shakai Hyoron Sha editor who selected the books for the fair. “Japan has serious collectors with extremely niche hobbies and many of their collections are undoubtedly world-class. ”

“Cool Ja-pon,” the name of the book fair is a play-on-words on the second Chinese character of the word meaning “Japan” which also means “book” and can be read “pon.”

Here is a look at just some of the books sold at Cool Ja-pon:

・ Build the Future - Photobook of futuristic machineries

・ Cool Japan! Explore Kakkoii Nippon

・ Otacool 2 Worldwide Cosplayers - Book featuring pictures of cosplayers around the world by Danny Choo

・ Otacool Worldwide Otaku Rooms - Book featuring rooms of otaku around the world

・ Elevest – Japan’s first guide to elevators - Guidebook with photos of spectacular elevators in Japan

・ Kimokawa-kun - Photobook of gross-but-cute animals around the world

・ Konna Shigoto Zettai Iyada!

・ Supermarket Mania: Asia-hen

・ Why Do Customers Snap at You in Electronics Stores? - Secrets about first-class customer service practiced by Japanese electronics stores

・ Weird Verdicts- Book about the weirdest verdicts actually rendered around the world

・ Euromanga Vol. 4 - Japan’s first magazine about Europe-made Japanese-style manga

・ Japanese Old Boombox Deisgn Catalog - Collection of boombox designs from the 70s and 80s.

・ A Secret History of American Soldiers Killed by the Atomic Bomb - Little known truths about American POWs killed in Hiroshima

・ Men Who Did It All by Themselves - Record of men who tried to recreate movie scenes by themselves

・ World Map for Laughs: Funniest Place Names That Actually Exist - Collection of place names that sound funny in Japanese

・ An Alternative Dictionary of Foreign Languages - Hilarious collection of foreign-language phrases that sound like Japanese

・ The World’s Bento Lunches – 55 recipes - Collection of 55 portable lunch dishes made around the world

・ The World’s Curry Dishes - Collection of curry dishes made around the world

・ The World’s Subcultures - Collection of little-known, underground subcultures around the world

・ Farmers’ Markets of the World

・ The World’s Zoos

・ The World’s Hot Pot Dishes – 29 recipes

・ From Japanese Classrooms around the World - Collection of actual episodes and reports from teachers of the Japanese language

・ Notable Figures with Funny Names of the World

・ Ban English: Unknown Facts about Japan and the U.S. during WWII

・ Super-close-up: Robot’s Structure - Photobook with spectacular close-up photos of industrial robots

・Animals’ “Omega”: It was the mouth that was cute - Photobook compiled by the author fascinated with animals’ cute ω-shaped mouths

・ Goofy Crimes of Japan - Collection of actual cases that were too goofy for the media to report in Japan

・ Americans Who Became Japanese Soldiers

・ 1,000 Record Jackets of Musicians with Crime Records

・ Treasured Collection of Beautiful Women in Bakumatsu, Meiji, Taisho - Rare photographs of Japanese women taken before 1925

・ Global Tastes in Tokyo - Guidebook of Tokyo restaurants serving cuisines from around the world

© GaijinPot

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.


17 Comments
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Sorry, but i do not see mass appeal here. These books in any language would be for a handfull of people surely.

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・ Goofy Crimes of Japan - Collection of actual cases that were too goofy for the media to report in Japan

this looks cool, however. Actually a few up there look good.... What a stupid comment above by me.

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and sadly I have zero interest which makes me a freak.

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Sorry, but i do not see mass appeal here.

Sorry but but I do not see books here. The items listed do not belong to the category "books".

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Hmmm ... they might want to rethink that flag. I don't think it will go down particularly well with Asian tourists.

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Cool Ja-pon ??? Yeah,just so cool,lol.

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I am with dwhite here on the flag, poor taste there for sure!

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Sorry but but I do not see books here. The items listed do not belong to the category "books".

Certainly, all these appear to be rubber chickens to me too.

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By worldwide readership, they mean people who are in that electronics store. Since those don't sound exciting enough to buy, but they would make for an interesting flip through before you went and bought what you actually went there for.

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Yoko Kumada's diet book isn't on the list? Heck, that book should have serious global appeal!

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There's a bookstore in AkibaYodo? News to me...what floor? :->

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Checked it out. Pretty cool / interesting / funny stuff. Worth a look.

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Where are the books by Ishihara? Or those anti-Korean and anti-foreigner books that were sold in 7-11? Wouldn't they be cool?

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I am glad to see that Japan is trying to be up to the expectations, and be leading superpower in culture, too, not only in economic brute power. I am pretty sure that anyone who ever saw the " Elevest – Japan’s first guide to elevators" "Kimokawa-kun - Photobook of gross-but-cute animals around the world" or "World Map for Laughs: Funniest Place Names That Actually Exist - Collection of place names that sound funny in Japanese" cannot deny the dominant influence Japan on the wolrd culture!

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personally, i find quite a few titles that just might happen to be worth of further investigation. surprisingly enough, i know. but how about these:

・ Weird Verdicts- Book about the weirdest verdicts actually rendered around the world

・ An Alternative Dictionary of Foreign Languages - Hilarious collection of foreign-language phrases that sound like Japanese

・ The World’s Subcultures - Collection of little-known, underground subcultures around the world

・ Ban English: Unknown Facts about Japan and the U.S. during WWII (it seems this ban on english is still in force doesn't it)

・ Americans Who Became Japanese Soldiers

and a few others as well. it has been said, but most of the titles do give one the impression of catalogs of some sort rather than fiction which is more readily associated with the word book it seems.

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Hey, there aren't any GLAVIA photobooks on the list. Not many of those need Japanese to understand them. I don't think "Treasured Collection of Beautiful Women in Bakumatsu, Meiji, Taisho - Rare photographs of Japanese women taken before 1925" would count, though in the day it might have.

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awesome ^__^

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