Seeing a display of Japanese fiction in Waterstone’s suddenly brought it home to me how one-dimensional a vision presides of what Japanese culture is, at least in the British publishing industry. Countless book covers show the same images of submissive women and fragile blossoms, repeated in barely changing iterations. Sure, these images have their roots in Japanese visual arts, whether ukiyo-e or Araki, but there’s a distinct laziness at work here when it comes to looking past the visual stereotypes.

Am sure this happens with other national groupings of authors too. Next project: a national taxonomy of book covers?


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