Japan's best-selling fiction of 2013

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2014/04/24 News

Japan's best-selling fiction of 2013

The ten best-selling works of fiction in Japan from December 2012 through November 2013 were:

1. Shikisai o motanai Tazaki Tsukuru to, kare no junrei no toshi (Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage)
by Haruki Murakami (Bungeishunju, 2013) ISBN 978-4163821108
Four years after his previous hit, 1Q84, Haruki Murakami returned to the no. 1 spot that seems to be reserved for each new book he produces. With over 1.05 million copies sold, this was the only million-seller fiction title of 2013.

2. Kaizoku to yobareta otoko 1, 2 (The Man Who Was Called a Pirate 1 & 2)
by Naoki Hyakuta (Kodansha, 2012) ISBN 978-4062175649 (vol. 1); 978-4062175654 (vol. 2)
This winner of the 2013 Booksellers Award is a historical tale of an entrepreneur who starts a major oil company, modeled on Sazo Idemitsu, the real-life founder of Idemitsu Kosan. The colorful portrait of a businessman with moral fiber, who stands up for human dignity without compromise, struck a chord with a broad cross-section of the reading audience.

3. Rosu-jene no gyakushu (The Lost Generation Strikes Back)
by Jun Ikeido (Diamond, 2012) ISBN 978-4478020500 
This is the third volume in Jun Ikeido's continuing series of financial novels featuring maverick bank officer Naoki Hanzawa. With the television drama based on the previous volumes scoring a big hit, the third book became a bestseller as well. In this installment, Hanzawa is farmed out to a subsidiary securities firm and ends up facing off against his own parent bank.

4. Hoteru Royaru (Hotel Royal)  
by Shino Sakuragi (Shueisha, 2013) ISBN 978-4087714920
This winner of the Naoki Prize for the first half of 2013 is a collection of stories linked to a love hotel that stands on a scenic hill outside an eastern Hokkaido city. Love, hate, desire, and humor all intermingle in the tales of couples whose lives are in some way connected to the hotel.

5. Nazotoki wa dina no ato de 3 (The After-Dinner Mysteries 3)
by Tokuya Higashigawa (Shogakukan, 2012) ISBN 978-4093863476
This is the third and newest installment of a series that has sold more than 3 million copies since the first volume took the Booksellers Award in 2011. The beautiful heiress to a vast industrial fortune is a bumbling rookie police detective who gets a helping hand from her acid-tongued butler. She has an auto company heir for a boss, and in this volume the relationship between the three undergoes a change.

6. Sekai kara neko ga kieta nara (If Cats Disappeared from the Earth)
by Genki Kawamura (Magazine House, 2012) ISBN 978-4838725021
An up-and-coming director of one hit film after another tries his hand at fiction and achieves resounding success with this story about a 30-year-old mail carrier with a brain tumor who lives alone with his cat. The narrative portrays a week in his life as he nears his death.

7. Inu kara kiita suteki na hanashi: Namida afureru juyon no hanashi (Heartwarming Stories Heard from a Dog: 14 Tales That Will Make You Cry)
by Hana Yamaguchi (Toho Publishing, 2012) ISBN 978-4809410956
In this debut collection, a homemaker who studied psychology in school offers up tales, said to be based on true stories, telling of the strong bond between humans and dogs. Half are addressed by the masters to their dogs, and the other half by the dogs to their masters.

8. Kokoro (Heart)
by Kan Sanjun (Shueisha, 2013) ISBN 978-4087815238
This is the second foray into fiction by a University of Tokyo political scientist (emeritus) and frequent TV commentator who is a second-generation Korean resident of Japan. A central component of the story is a philosophical email correspondence between "Professor Kan" and a student who is despondent over the death of his best friend.

9. Koyomi monogatari (Tale of Koyomi)
by Ishin Nishio (Kodansha, 2013) ISBN 978-4062838375
This is the 14th collection of stories in the ?monogatari (Tale of ?) series that centers on high-school senior Koyomi Araragi. Ever since that spring night when he encountered a beautiful vampiress, Koyomi has felt drawn to the supernatural, and now . . . Author Ishin Nishio has recently been producing a string of hit "light novels," a distinctively Japanese category of fiction targeted primarily at the teen reader.

10. Mugenbana (Dream Flower)
by Keigo Higashino (PHP Institute, 2013) ISBN 978-4569811543
In this winner of the 2013 Shibata Renzaburo Award, several seemingly unconnected lives are shown to be linked with the mystery surrounding the yellow Japanese morning glory, a flower that is known to have once existed but is now extinct.

(As reported by Japan's largest book distributor, Tohan Corporation: http://www.tohan.jp/bestsellers/upload_pdf_past/131202bestseller_2013y.pdf; item 2 is ranked according to combined sales of the two volumes.)