According to the Institut des sciences de l'édition, the estimated revenue of "publishing rights"In 2009, the Japanese manga market, including sales of translation rights abroad, amounted to JPY 15.7 billion. More than 70 % of this sum was devoted to manga, with books accounting for only around 20 %.

Toshikazu Kawaguchi and "Le Café du Temps Retrouvé".

The global health crisis has had an undeniable impact on the Japanese bookThis has created both unique challenges and opportunities. Increasing interest in overseas translation rights, particularly as people seek ways of escaping and understanding one another, is testament to the industry's resilience and adaptability. The manga sector continues to dominate the market, but growing interest in other Japanese literary genres suggests a diversification of content available to international readers. These trends reflect not only Japan's ability to adapt to a changing media landscape, but also the crucial role of literature in maintaining social and cultural ties in uncertain times.

Global Expansion of Japanese Literature

Traditionally, the translation of Japanese books has been widespread in Asia. However, at the Japan Uni Agency, a long-established agent in Japan, worldwide sales of Japanese translations have increased by 20 % per year for 19 years, before the disaster of CoronaVirus - Covid. The blockage in Europe and the USA is more severe than in Japan, and new business opportunities are emerging with the growth of crafts, cookery, reference books, detective novels, philosophy books and classics for those who continue to stay at home.

Government Support for Translation

Nor has the government been idle. The Japan Foundation has provided subsidies for Japanese translations for overseas markets, mainly in the humanities and social sciences. In addition, this year the Agency for Cultural Affairs began subsidizing the translation costs of domestic publishers for proposals and sample translations intended for sale abroad.

Renewed efforts for international promotion

Toshikazu Kawaguchi and "Le Café du Temps Retrouvé".

In the past, the Agency has attempted to promote the translation and dissemination of contemporary Japanese literature on a large scale, by selecting literary works for translation and subsidizing them. However, the number of works did not increase as expected, and the project was discontinued in FY13.

Translation Initiatives and Grants

This time, the government has decided to support private initiatives. Expectations are high, as it is important to emphasize the attractiveness of a work in the field of buying and selling translation rights for literary works whose content is unknown. This year, the government will subsidize up to JPY 100,000 for proposal translations and up to JPY 500,000 for sample translations. The number of public submissions is expected to be 100 for proposals and around 20 for sample translations. With the translation contest, which has been running for some time, a budget of 65 million yen has been set aside for this year.

Japan Book Bank: Promoting Japanese Copyrights

In March last year, with the support of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, a catalog website, Japan Book Bank, was set up to provide information on book copyrights in Japan, in both English and Japanese. The site is currently managed by the NPO Visual Industry Promotion Organisation and, to date, 42 translations of novels, manga and other works have been decided through the site.

Long-term strategy for international Japanese literature

Exhibiting at events, networking... long-term support is needed. Chung Bora, CURSED BUNNY Abroad, countries are also focusing their efforts on supporting translation and publication. In South Korea, the government set up the Korean Literature Translation Agency in 2001 and continues to subsidize the publication of translations, which has led to numerous publications in Japan.

Toshikazu Kawaguchi and "Le Café du Temps Retrouvé

Toshikazu Kawaguchi, renowned Japanese authorcaptivated readers around the world with his novel "Le Café du Temps Retrouvé. Exploring themes of time, memory and redemption, the book takes place in a unique café where customers can travel back in time. However, this travel is bound by strict rules, adding a poignant and philosophical dimension to the story. Kawaguchi's work offers a profound reflection on the value of the present moment and the ties that bind us together.

The plot revolves around the "Funiculi Funicula", a café that possesses the mysterious ability to take its visitors back to a specific moment in the past. However, customers can neither change the course of events nor affect the present. This fascinating premise allows Kawaguchi to explore the regrets, unspoken wishes and moments of grace that define the human experience. The book's success lies in its ability to touch the hearts of readers, inviting them to reflect on their own lives and the choices they have made.

Before devoting herself to writing, Toshikazu Kawaguchi was a playwright, which explains the highly visual, dialogue-driven narrative structure of his novel. "Le Café du Temps Retrouvé" was originally conceived as a play, giving it a particular dynamic in which dialogue plays a key role. The adaptation of his work into a novel enabled it to reach a wider audience, making Kawaguchi a key figure in contemporary Japanese literature.

The critical and commercial reception of "Le Café du Temps Retrouvé"The response was overwhelmingly positive, underlining the universality of Kawaguchi's themes. Her unique approach to storytelling, combining mystery, emotion and philosophy, has won the hearts of many readers. The novel has also been translated into several languages, testifying to its international success and significant cultural impact.

Toshikazu Kawaguchi and "Le Café du Temps Retrouvé".

In conclusion, the work of Toshikazu Kawaguchi represents a bridge between cultures, bringing a Japanese perspective to universal questions of existence. "Le Café du Temps Retrouvé" encourages introspection on the meaning of life, the importance of human relationships and the possibility of healing through time. Kawaguchi's contribution to world literature is undeniable, making him an author worth discovering and reading.

Recognition and International Success

The Booker International Prize attracted attention when the English translation of Mieko Kawakami's Haven was shortlisted. Among the six finalists was CURSED BUNNY by Chung Bora from South Korea. This book has been translated into 18 countries. Asian countries are catching up in terms of book translation.

Commitment to Japanese Culture

It took five years from the time we started PR to the time the book was sold. To raise awareness of the appeal of Japanese works, activities such as exhibiting at events and networking are essential, and long-term support is needed."

Conclusion: Towards a Better Understanding of Japanese Culture

Mr. Kobayashi, from the Sanmark publishing house, adds. Getting children to read Japanese literature gives them a better understanding and familiarity with Japanese culture. This is not something that can be achieved overnight, but requires a long-term support program. (Chihiro Kosugi, Department of Culture)

Also to be discovered

  • See also Japan lags behind in revitalizing the art industry... Selling culture (1)
  • A special exhibition in Yokohama that will make you feel like an Ultra Quiz solver... and smile as you wear the "Ultra Hat" you've always wanted to wear.
  • The surprises and impressions of zookeepers are transcribed into cartoons. [Reporters' Choice] Jan. 28.

Categorized in: