Japan’s best-selling fiction of 2014

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2015/05/08 News

Japan’s best-selling fiction of 2014

The ten best-selling works of fiction in Japan from December 1, 2013 through November 26, 2014 were:

1. Murakami kaizoku no musume 1 & 2 (The Pirate’s Daughter 1 & 2)
by Ryō Wada (Shinchosha, 2013) ISBN 978-4103068822 (vol. 1); 978-4103068839 (vol. 2)
Thanks in part to winning the 2014 Booksellers Award, this book became a million-seller, capturing the young demographic as well. Spectacular land and sea battles unfold in a narrative centering on the heroics of the daughter of a pirate boss amid warring factions in late-16th-century feudal Japan.

2. Gin’yoku no Ikarosu (Silver-Winged Icarus)
by Jun Ikeido (Diamond, 2014) ISBN 978-4478028919
The fourth installment in the author’s series of financial novels featuring maverick bank officer Naoki Hanzawa. With the television drama based on previous volumes scoring a big hit, this book became a million-seller too. In this outing, Hanzawa stands up to powerful financial and political forces pressuring him to write off most of ?50 billion in loans extended to bail out a major airline.

3. Onna no inai otoko-tachi (Men without Women) 
by Haruki Murakami (Bungeishunju, 2014) ISBN 978-4163900742
This is the first short-story collection in nine years for the best-selling Haruki Murakami. In the title work, a man gets a call late at night from the husband of a former girlfriend, saying his wife has committed suicide. Six stories with all the polish readers have come to expect of this author.

4. Utsuro na jūjika (Hollow Cross)
by Keigo Higashino (Kobunsha, 2014) ISBN 978-4334929442
A new novel by a name making frequent appearances on this list. The ex-wife of a pet-funeral director is killed. Previously, their daughter had also been killed. Even as it ratchets up the suspense, the work takes a serious look at the issue of the death penalty vs. rehabilitation for murderers.

5. Rosu-jene no gyakushū (The Lost Generation Strikes Back)
by Jun Ikeido (Diamond, 2012) ISBN 978-4478020500
The third installment of Jun Ikeido’s Naoki Hanzawa series (see #2). Riding on the success of both the television drama and the newest book in the series, this title has remained a bestseller as well. In this volume, Hanzawa is farmed out to a subsidiary securities firm and ends up facing off against his own parent bank.

6. Owarimonogatari 1, 2, 3, & Continued (Tale of the End 1, 2, 3, & Continued)
by NisiOisiN (Kodansha, 2013?14) ISBN 978-4062838573 (vol. 1); 978-4062838610 (vol. 2); 978-4062838689 (vol. 3); 978-4062838788 (Continued)
These new entries from Japan’s hottest writer of teen-targeted “light novels” are the 15th through 18th volumes in the ?monogatari (Tale of ?) series, which centers on high-school senior Koyomi Araragi. Koyomi faces more paranormal challenges as he prepares for his college entrance exams.

7. Kaizoku to yobareta otoko 1 & 2 (The Man Who Was Called a Pirate 1 & 2)
by Naoki Hyakuta (Kodansha, 2012) ISBN 978-4062175647 (vol. 1); 978-4062175654 (vol. 2)
Winner of the 2013 Booksellers Award, this is the tale of a man modeled on real-life entrepreneur Sazō Idemitsu, founder of the oil company Idemitsu Kōsan. The colorful portrait of a businessman with moral fiber, who stands up for human dignity without compromise, has struck a chord with a broad cross-section of readers and continues its best-selling performance.

8. Inferno 1 & 2
by Dan Brown (Kadokawa, 2013) ISBN 978-4041105931 (vol. 1); 978-4041105948 (vol. 2)
A translation of Dan Brown’s fourth volume featuring Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon. In a grand historical mystery set in Florence, the professor must unravel codes linked to Dante’s Inferno.

9. Yakusoku no umi (Sea of Promise)
by Toyoko Yamasaki (Shinchosha, 2014) ISBN 978-4103228233
The final, unfinished work of one of Japan’s all-time best-selling authors, Toyoko Yamasaki, published after her death in 2013. With main characters modeled on her father, an officer in Japan’s old Imperial Navy, and her son, a member of the postwar Maritime Self-Defense Force, the author intended it to be a grand retracing of Japan’s postwar history.

10. Petero no sōretsu (St. Peter’s Funeral Procession)
by Miyuki Miyabe (Shueisha, 2013) ISBN 978-4087715323
The best-selling author’s third novel featuring salaryman sleuth Saburō Sugimura. An incident in which an elderly man hijacks a bus appears to end quickly with the hostages rescued unharmed and the hijacker dead, but certain other events have been set in motion that ultimately reveal a complex tale of deception and greed. The television drama based on the story generated considerable buzz.

(As reported by Japan’s largest book distributor, Tohan Corporation; items 1, 6, 7, and 8 are ranked according to combined sales of all volumes.)