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■ Featuring "1984 Pops," June 30 to July 30







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■ You had put on a play, which made you acquire the approach? Theater, in a sense, forces you to communicate with company, doesn't it?

F: Maybe so. I have felt so thrilled to wait on customers in a bookstore. I'm still feeling thrilled. I have learnt a lot from custom like assortment of books they bought. I am reaching retiring age 60 years old next year, but I'm delighted that I have worked as a bookseller like that during the 35 years.


■ How has your awareness as a bookseller changed?

F: Not so changed. I though booksellers were like graduate students who have their wages paid when I entered this field, and it is still almost the same. I've always got something like an intellectual impulse by soaking in the ocean of books. So I would like them, graduate students and undergraduates, to visit bookshops more. It's the reason why I've held a lot of panel sessions. I would truly desire to cause a chemical reaction between students and authors thru actual bookstores.



■ I guess other sellers have also tried like establishing Japan Booksellers' Award in 2004...

F: I don't agree with the award, because they are only chasing a result which already came up. I won't deny if they raise their recommendations despite the unpopularity each other.


■ Well, I agree with you since an author Isaka Kotaro has been nominated over 10 times. LOL

F: Have you ever heard OBOP? It means Osaka Book One Project. The project is that wholesalers and bookstores in Osaka select the one we'd truly like you to read. I joined a symposium about the project as just an onlooker, not a presenter, but there was the one who encouraged me to say something on the stage. So I said "All booksellers in Osaka desperately select one book for this project, and who'll be happy?"


■ I feel kind of sorry for the one who encouraged you.

F: I mean that we shouldn't imitate each other. For instance, humanity books were defined as the ones which suggest something alternative said I quite a while ago. The alternative to the present society, the present world. After a time, I heard that they had accepted the idea in the Kinokuniya Bookstore in Grand Front Osaka. So I visited to see their book shelf dealing with humanity, but it didn't suggest any alternatives at all. LOL


■ They might think dealing with alternatives not based on the main stream would bring trouble to them. LOL I guess it is alright when humanity shows diverse, including alternatives and something underground, since humanity means human culture.

F: Actual bookstores are full of the unknown world. You seldom visit the pages which you are no connected with in Internet. For instance, there was the book about Africa written by a special correspondent of Mainichi Shimbun before, and I was so absorbed in. The reason is that we are almost ill-informed about Africa. It said that there were only about 5 special correspondents in Africa. Their world almost has nothing to do with us, because they hardly devote space to Africa no matter how desperate the correspondents are to collect information. Then, Internet can give it to us? No.


■ I don't disagree with you, but I guess the actual bookstores can be full of the unknown world just as long as they are large-scale bookstores like Kinokuniya and Junkudo. Small-scale shops in street can also be the strongbox?

F: I consider that the small-scale shops are easier to make the better shelves as mentioned before. In a Kyoto bookshop, I found the shelves which seemed to be formed by the manager's intention, looked like containing nothing the manager didn't know. No customers complain. They all acknowledge the way the bookstore is. How can we make the bookshelves better? What should we suggest to what kind of custom? How do we bridge a gap between custom and authors, publishers? I believe that we booksellers seriously have to face with the questions.



■ It sounds difficult and seems no exit.

F: New books come up 200 a day, and it is reasonable that we have no easy way to the right place. So I said there was no the best.

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