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Junkudo Namba Shop Manager

Fukushima Akira

< 29, Jun, 2018 >

Going on is an interview with Fukushima Akira, the manager of Junkudo Namba Shop. Have you ever heard Junkudo? It's a Japanese popular bookstore chain that you can find in some cities like Tokyo, Osaka and Hokkaido. Some of them are so extensive that you are difficult to grasp the whole at once.

You might tell me "Why did you interview with the manager of the Namba Shop?" In fact, he's written widely on the subject of bookstores himself. He's seriously put on his thinking cap about bookshops since 1982 when he joined the Junkudo, in other words. Then, I desired him to talk about some pieces of his thought this time.




■ I'm so honored to see you. First, wouldn't you tell me the reason why you joined Junkudo? I heard you had worked since 1982.

Fukushima Akira: I entered in 1982, but there's an empty time between the joining and my graduation. I'd belonged to Kyoto University━━Tatsumi Takuro an actor is an alumnus of mine━━, but had been hooked on dramatic art and horse riding. It means that there wasn't a road to be a scholar before me. I had kept being in dramatic art after my graduation for a while, and there happened to be a bookshop manager in the audience whom I had often found in theater. It looks that he played a go-between to Junkudo for me. So I was interviewed, and accepted to join them.

Junkudo is perfectly different from what they used to be. Junkudo was established in 1976, it was just an immature company in 1982 when I joined. The president was, if I am not mistaken, 32 years old or so. They just needed human labor and took me on at the time because they were expanding their business, trying to open an extensive bookstore in San-nomiya.


■ Why did an actor decide to be a bookseller?


Fukushima Akira

Born in 1959 Hyogo.
After Graduating from Kyoto University,
joined Junkudo a bookshop chain in 1982.
Has worked as the manager
of the Namba Shop since 2009.
From 1975 to 1987, had also gone on
as an actor and a stage director.
F: Some might think that bookstores are almost unconnected with dramatic art, but unexpectedly, there's some affinities between the two. First of all, actors all read the script books or the show never goes on. Not just actors, but property men like stage directors and art staff also have to read some books, because they need accurately build the fictional world on the stage. Those in theater are very close to books.


■ Sorry but bookstores and publishers look like declining industries today. How was it at the time?

F: It was rising rapidly, skyrocketing at the time. Differently from the present time, we were believing brighter tomorrow in the mood of vague hope. 1996 is the peak of booksellers, and we have sorely declined until today. "This falling down is only temporary" said some at the time, but declining sorely.


■ 1996...

F: Very simple. Personal computers (Windows'95) explosively spread in Japan, which forced booksellers into a fall in sales. That firstly drove away the books to look up like an encyclopedia. Today, Heibon-sha and Shogakukan don't release their new encyclopedias like they used to although it was their core at the time.


■ It shifted to digital?

F: Like paper maps changed into car navigation and Google Map, they shifted to digital in order of the convenience. Map publishers disappeared across the board. Information magazines cannot win against Internet in quick report, and so Pia is just in Internet today though I used to use often when it went on as a magazine.

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