The following is the monthly ranking of bestsellers released by book wholesaler Nippan Shuppan Hanbai Inc. (NIPPAN) on May 31:
A young man from the mountains of Hokkaido grows up to be an accomplished piano tuner. The author’s prose is so precise and sensuous that the reader almost hears the sound of the piano. The novel won this year’s Japan Booksellers’ Award, which is based on a tally of votes from bookstore clerks.
Ishihara burst on the literary scene in 1955 with the publication of “Taiyo no Kisetsu” (Season of Violence), which won the Akutagawa Prize in literature. Later the author went into politics and served as governor of Tokyo for three years. The former politician was an outspoken critic of Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka (1918-93). Here he does a volte-face, explaining his present admiration for Tanaka.
3. Kirawareru Yuki [Courage to Be Disliked] by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga
Kishimi, a philosopher, and Koga, a writer, collaborated to produce this self-help book in the form of a dialogue between a young man and philosopher that teaches how to live happily by using Alfred Adler’s psychoanalytical theory. The book has been translated into Chinese and Korean.
4. Kimi no Suizo wo Tabetai [I Want to Eat Your Pancreas] by Yoru Sumino
A high school boy finds a classmate’s secret diary at a hospital and learns she is suffering from pancreatic disease and not expected to live more than a year. He becomes the only person who knows of her illness besides her family. The two classmates, who have opposite characters, gradually come to understand each other as they grow up.
5. Tanaka Kakuei 100 no Kotoba [100 Wise Sayings by Kakuei Tanaka] by Takarajimasha
Publisher Takarajimasha brought out this collection of 100 pearls of wisdom from Kakuei Tanaka along with photos of the late prime minister. One of his sayings on work is “Start by saying your conclusion.” For a good life, he prescribes: “Those who work hard do not know unhappiness.” One of his offerings on politics is: “In the fight with snow, build a bridge.” The last was spoken by a true son of the Niigata snow country.