Steven Pinker’s “Enlightenment Now” a Bestseller in Japan


Literary Trends in Japan 2019

Digest by Japan Writers' House

The Japanese translation of Steven Pinker’s Enlightenment Now, published by Soshisha, has swiftly become a bestseller, with 45,000 copies sold in the span of a single month. The bulk of sales can be found in large-scale bookstores in big cities, and the book has been especially popular with male business-people in their 30s and 40s. The first printing of the book began in December 18th, with 16,000 copies of the first volume and 13,000 copies of the second. The second printing, starting on the day of publication, added another 5,000 copies, while a third printing in January has added another 3,000 copies to bookstores across Japan.

Soshisha has collaborated with social media site NewsPicks, which is run by UZABASE Inc., for the book’s promotion. NewsPicks has published special articles, begun a newsletter, and hosted round-table discussions for members of the subscription service NewsPicks Academia. They also plan on opening online reading circles on the site.

Regarding Soshisha’s collaboration with NewsPicks, President Sō Kubota stated “We are seeing changes not only in how books are sold and bought, but in how they are read. We are honored to be able to work with NewsPicks, who take an ambitious approach at the forefront of the changing possibilities of books so that they can better support business-people’s reading habits.”