Sakurai Makoto frequently appears in Japanese headlines due to his role as the leader of anti-foreigner hate group Zaitokukai. However, this week it’s his work as an author that has the internet buzzing.
It seems that the book superstore Shosen Grande released a promotional tweet recommending Sakurai’s new book about his anti-Korean ideology, which quickly drew protests from offended customers, politicians, and members of the anti-racist group the Shitback Crew. Shosen Grande quickly removed the offending tweet and issued a formal apology, but all the fuss had the unintended effect of further publicizing the book, and it shot up to the rank of number 1 best-selling book on Amazon for Japan.
Thrilled with this unexpected result, Sakurai took to twitter to gloat, and made sure to credit liberal politician Yoshifu Arita and other anti-racist demonstrators for his success. Netizen responses, to both the Shosen Grande incident and Sakurai’s response, have been mixed, although many are skeptical that the whole controversy was an intentional PR ploy.
From Yahoo! Japan:
Shosen Grande Goes Viral Over PR For “Anti-Korea” Book, Deletes Tweet and Apologizes
After book retail superstore Shosen Grande attracted criticism for recommending Sakurai Makoto’s new book “The Great Anti-Korean Age“ on its official twitter account, management for parent company Shosen issued an apology on their official website on September 26, saying “it definitely shouldn’t have happened.” The tweet in question has already been deleted.
In introducing “The Great Anti-Korean Age”, the tweet said “We recommend this to those who hate their neighboring country, those who are worried about why they’re hated, and those who have doubts about things like colonial rule, the affectation of the victorious nation, territorial issues, and Anti-Japanese sentiment.” The tweet was met with criticism such as “You’re stirring up xenophobia,” and “Isn’t this discrimination?”
The apology posted on the official site reads: “Within our content introducing a newly published book, there was language that seemed to be supporting a particular opinion, and as a book store and intellectual space that deals with a variety of ideas, we view this as something that definitely shouldn’t have happened and are now reflecting deeply on the incident. Furthermore, our company absolutely did not intend the misunderstanding we unfortunately caused for our customers, so with our deepest apologies we have already deleted the tweet in question.”
Comments from Yahoo! Japan:
Don’t you think there will be an increasing number of people who see this and think they should start supporting Grande? Because they reached this point just by moving away from Sanseido a little bit.
It’s natural that there are people who want to make an issue out of this. It would be weird if there weren’t. However, I think the people who support this will give tacit consent and start patronizing this store more. With Japanese-Korean relations being what they are right now, this looks like it will ultimately have great results for them from a publicity standpoint.
If you’re gonna say this is a problem, don’t you think they should be dealing directly with the book that became the subject of the problem? I haven’t read the book, but with a title like that it probably basically summarizes it, right? Specifically which part is “something that shouldn’t have happened”?
It’s a fact that books in that system sell very well, so isn’t it normal that a book store would want to recommend a book that’s selling well?
If this is something that shouldn’t have happened, then doesn’t that mean they can’t introduce any books related to politics or ideology? Didn’t the bookstore end up setting a bad precedent here? I think it’s clear that they thought people would make this go viral for them, but they accidentally stirred up the hornet’s nest and it became a big problem instead.
Now I want to try reading it. Contrary to their intentions.
I think there’s a relationship between a problems related to expression and freedom of speech, but is it really that much of a problem? If we start to find fault with everything and anything, I think we’ll become exactly like a certain country.
It’s now the number 1 best seller on Amazon. I bought it and read it too, but this is interesting.
In the end, this became an even bigger advertisement for them. Perhaps even this was part of the plan?
I have absolutely no idea what the issue is.
From Sakurai Makoto’s Twitter:
@Doronpa01 [29 September 2014]:
Arita and his followers and the Shitback Crew did some viral marketing schemes of their own free will, and now “The Great Anti-Korean Age” is so trendy that it’s sold out. It’s only the fifth day since it went on sale, but I heard from the publishing company and plans have already been made for additional printing. It’s risen all the way to third place on Amazon’s ranking for all books. As an author, I extend my heartfelt thanks to everyone who has bought the book.
Comments from 2ch.net:
No matter what the reason, number 1 is amazing
If they hadn’t made such a big fuss I certainly wouldn’t have even known that the book came out
LOL’d at the self-destruction characteristic of the left wing w
They’re reverse-invoking the law!
Yeahhh this is too great. I never thought it would be able to take first place w
Although this book has right-leaning people feeling like “it’s about time,” this is a completely fresh viewpoint for average citizens. And there are also probably a lot of people who got interested in this after the stupid “special Japanese people” held their negative campaign and ended up publicizing the book instead.
The anti-racists are so incompetent that they ended up cooperating with the racists. At this point it’s an everyday occurrence to see negative campaigns turn into viral marketing. Or is it possible that the Shitback Crew and them did it hoping that things would turn out like this?
In this age, something going viral is the very best publicity.
If it was 10th place, I’d be like hmmm, but number 1 is just amazing.