Supermarket, the Novel


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Supermarket, the Novel
Author: Satoshi Azuchi
Category: Fiction
Publisher: Kodansha Ltd.
Tokyo, 1984
Translations: Russian, English
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Country Languages Publisher Title ISBN Translator Affiliate Link
Russia Russian Azbooka Супермаркет 978-5998500954 Александр Долин
United States English Thomas Dunn Supermarket, the Novel 978-0312382940 Paul Warham
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This novel depicting the corporate world of Japan's supermarket industry was the basis for film director Juzo Itami's The Supermarket Woman.

The protagonist, a man named Kojima, was once an elite banker at one of Japan's top-flight financial institutions. He leaves that world behind when an older cousin invites him to help manage Ishiei, a supermarket in one of Japan's provincial cities. There Kojima witnesses a host of problems: store employees are stealing products, the store is massively overstocked, and the workers are stuck in old ways of thinking. Behind the numbers shown in the books, the supermarket is in a wretched state. Kojima begins trying to reform the store's management but is met with spiteful efforts to prevent his moves from succeeding. The problems are compounded when his cousin, the store's actual manager, proves to have no interest in the day-to-day affairs of the outlet and prefers avoiding the trouble of facing the issues at hand.

What is the ideal form of the supermarket that Kojima must seek to achieve? His battles continue as he tries to bring about revolutionary changes in the distribution of fresh produce to the store. The novel features a diverse cast of characters who tackle a range of problems, from love affairs between employees to family strife. The book's appeal lies in the way it skillfully presents its characters alongside a wealth of information about the industry?everything from how the supermarket selects and obtains the products it sells to the ways that goods are displayed, prices determined, and inventory managed. The author's experience as a supermarket manager lends authority to his writing on these topics, making this book an informative introduction to the world of Japanese supermarkets.