Murakami, Japanese Authors Pulled from Chinese Bookstores

In Global Trade Talk by Dennis Abrams

By Publishing Perspectives

The Ashai Shimbun reports that as anti-Japanese sentiment in China over the disputed Senaku Islands has spread, books by Japanese authors have been removed from bookstore shelves.

Murakami is among the Japanese authors being pulled from Chinese bookstores

On September 17th, the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Press and Publication, which oversees publishers in the Chinese capital, “summoned” editors from publishing houses that handle books by Japanese writers, according to sources in the industry.

According to The Ashai Shimbun, after explaining the intensifying struggle with Japan, a senior bureau official told the editors that they “should unify ideas and grasp a (political) direction.”

Participants took the summons and meeting as a suggestion to refrain from releasing and selling books related to Japan, one of the editors said.

A document reportedly from the bureau as later posted on the Internet, calling for a halt not only to the release of works by Japanese authors, but also of works by Chinese writers on themes regarding Japan as well as Japanese publications translated into Chinese. But the bureau, however, in an interview with The Ashai Shimbun, denied giving such instructions.

But the despite the denial, bookstores in Beijing had already begun taking books by Japanese authors off their shelves.

At the well known Wangfujjing bookstore in central Beijing, copies of Haruki Murakami’s best-selling IQ84 was removed from a shelf displaying best-sellers on September 21st. Another unnamed major bookstore followed suit, removing all publications by Japanese authors as well as any and all publications even related to Japan.

“It’s because of the deteriorating ties between Japan and China,” said a clerk at the bookstore.”

Should odds makers at Ladbrokes be correct and Murakami wins this year’s Nobel Price for Literature while tensions between the two nations continue, it appears that Murakami, his publishers, and legions of fans in China could be very disappointed at his unavailability in stores.

About the Author

Dennis Abrams

Dennis Abrams is a contributing editor for Publishing Perspectives, responsible for news, children's publishing and media. He's also a restaurant critic, literary blogger, and the author of "The Play's The Thing," a complete YA guide to the plays of William Shakespeare published by Pentian, as well as more than 30 YA biographies and histories for Chelsea House publishers.