Publishers Flooded With Orders For 'manyoshu'

Publishers flooded with orders for 'Manyoshu'

Monday's announcement of Japan's next imperial era name has triggered a rush of orders to publishers for related books, including the country's oldest existing anthology of poems.

The government on Monday disclosed the name, "Reiwa," for the era starting on May 1, when Crown Prince Naruhito ascends the throne.

The government explained that the two kanji characters for "rei" and "wa" were picked from a verse in the 20-volume anthology, "Manyoshu."

Publisher Chikumashobo decided to print 10,000 copies of books related to "Manyoshu." They include works by Japanese literary scholar Susumu Nakanishi, who is widely believed to have proposed "Reiwa."

The publisher also plans to send to bookstores leaflets publicizing the coming of a "Manyoshu boom."

Yumiko Hamanaka of Chikumashobo's sales department says Nakanishi's books are among the best commentaries on the classic work. She says she hopes many readers will take interest in "Manyoshu" by reading them.

Iwanami Shoten, Publishers responded to a surge of orders on Monday by delivering about 1,000 copies of "Manyoshu" and its modern-language version to bookstores. But the firm's stock is running out.

Iwanami has already decided to print several thousand more copies of mainly the modern version, which contains a preface used for the new era name. The publisher is also considering printing more copies of related books attracting readers' interest.

Sales section member Mayumi Horiuchi says she was surprised that calls and faxes began flooding in after the new era name was announced. She says she hopes many people will become familiar with the root of the Japanese language.