Theme of Today :

Japanese novels boom annoys Korean people

- Their illusion, "cultural superiority" -



- 「文化的優位」という幻想 -

Key passage:
In Korea, Japanese novels are read more than Korean ones now. But Korean people still believe their illusion of "cultural superiority over Japan", which is built up by unti-Japanese education. They have complexed feelings about Japanese novels boom.

韓国では現在韓国の小説より日本の小説のほうがよく読まれている。しかし反日教育による 「韓国の日本に対する文化的優位」という幻想を捨てられない人々の心境は複雑だ。


Korea has been adopting anti-Japanese policy since independence from Japan. But surprisingly, Japanese novels are widely read in Korea recently. It would be more accurate to say "Japanese novels boom" now. Most Korean people have received anti-Japanese education since their infancy. (There are the endemic species called "anti-Japanese novels" in Korea.) They learned to look down on Japanese people and culture. They learned to believe their "cultural superiority" blindly. Then this "Japanese novels boom" annoys them not a little.

 日本から独立後、ずっと反日政策をとっている韓国で、最近は意外にも日本の小説がよく読まれています。 今や日本小説ブームと言った方がいいくらいです。 多くの韓国人は、幼いころから反日教育により、日本人や日本文化への軽蔑、 韓国の文化的優位性を叩き込まれています (韓国には「反日小説」という固有種が存在します)。 彼らには、このブームは少なからぬ悩みの種となっているようです。

"The Korean people who devote themselves to Japanese novels have rapidly increased."
(Korean newspapers featured Japanese novels boom in Korea.)
These pictures are quoted from Japanese TV program.

"Are we widely attacked from the air by Japanese novels?"

The following article(Japanese) appeared in joongangdaily(Korean newspaper) web version. (2007/01/16)

以下は韓国紙、中央日報の記事(日本語) (2007/01/16)の引用です。
--- quote ---

Why are Japanese novels so popular?
The 1000-year-old novel will be also published.

Now is the golden days of Japanese novels.

Japanese novels have taken a more than 50 percent share of the domestic novel market(in Korea). You can not believe it, and I compiled statistics for you. I asked Kyobo Publisher to provide the data of top 100 novels last 4 years and its graph. What the graph shows is is very obvious. It shows that Korean people of today are reading more Japanese novels than Korean novels.

The graph also shows other facts. Japanese novels have become so popular last three or four years. Japanese novels have become more popular from year to year. The popularity is also proved by their supply. Korean Book Publishers Association says the 509 kinds of Japanese literature were published in Korea last year.

It has a circulation of 1,530,000, which means 32% of the domestic translated literature market, and more circulation than American literature (circulation of 1,530,000). What I call Japanese literature here are almost novels. Because today poems have seldom seen in Japanese literature.

Then why are Japanese novels so popular? Many theories try to explain this. The widely-accepted theory says that young people choose Japanese fresh novels as their option because they got tired of hard and heavy Korean novels. Some people cite the declining Korean novels and the spread of internet culture as other factors.

It is not easy to find out why Japanese novels so popular, but I know a little how Japanese novels have become so popular. In 1990s some novelists including Murakami Haruki and Yoshimoto Banana appeared as representative Japanese novelists. But in 2000s, situation changed. The time of a handful of novelists was over. Now many novelists write best-sellers one after the other.
Japanese novels entered a period of so-called "mass-production system of best-sellers". Japanese novels had great hits in every category one after another. For example, Japanese traditional novels for late teens, romance novels represented by Eguchi Kaori and Tsuji Jinsei, and novels of manners in a light and easy style by Okuda Hideaki, Yoshida Shuhichi, and Ishida Ira.

This year Onda Riku is very active. He is a mystery writer who has published five novels from three publishers at the same time.

--- 以下引用 ---



日本の小説はもう国内小説市場の半分以上を占領している。まさかとおっしゃる方のために統計を用意した。 教保(キョボ)文庫に最近4年間、小説部門ベストセラー100位リストを要請し、グラフをもらった。グラフの指示することは明確だ。 グラフによると、今日の韓国人は韓国小説より日本の小説の方をたくさん読んでいることがわかった。

それ以外にもグラフはいくつかの事実を伝えてくれる。1つは日本小説の人気が3、4年で盛り上がったこと、もう1つは年を越すごとに日本の小説人気が上昇するという点だ。 また供給物量でも日本の小説人気は確認できる。大韓出版文化協会によると昨年国内で出版された日本文学は509種、 153万部だった。

発行部数153万部は国内翻訳文学市場の32%を占めるもので、米国文学(123万部)よりも多い数値だ。 ここでいう日本文学とはおおむね小説だとしても問題ない。 日本で詩はほとんど見られなくなったジャンルだからだ。

ではどうしてか。多くの説がある。きつくて重い韓国小説に飽きた若い読者が、ひとつの代替手段としてはつらつとした 日本の小説を選ぶという推測が現在としては有力だ。これ以外に韓国小説の低迷とインターネット文化拡散を主要原因に上げる人もいる。

日本小説の人気の原因を糾明することはやさしくないが、人気の流れはある程度把握できる。 1990年代に村上春樹、吉本ばななら数人の作家が日本の小説を代表し登場した。しかし2000年代には様相が変わる。 一部の大型作家に依存するより、多くの作家が随時にベストセラーを出すご時世だ。 いわゆるベストセラー常時量産体制に突入したのだ。 例えば伝統のジャンルである10代趣向のハイティーン小説を含め、江國香織、辻仁成に代表される恋愛小説、 奥田英朗、吉田修一、石田衣良らの軽いタッチで描き出す世相小説まで、日本小説はジャンルを超えてどんどんヒットを飛ばした。


"Japanese novels of highlighted originality" in a large bookstore in Korea

Recent Japanese novels;
"Keritai Senaka(The Back You Want to Kick)" by Wataya Risa in 2004
"Nobuta o Produce(Producing the wild pig)" by Shiraiwa Gen in 2003

Classic novels :
"I AM A CAT" by Natsume Sohsaki in 1905

A bookstore clerk says a third of new publications are Japanese novels which are selling well.

In these golden days of Japanese novels, the novel which I can not overlook was also published. This is "Genji monogatari(Story of Genji)" which Japan regards as the oldest novel in the world. (Published by Hungiru, 10 volumes) "Genji monogatari" was admired by Kawabata Yasunari who received the Nobel in Literature. He said "What I wrote can not be called novels compared to this". Korean intellectuals know this "Genji monogatari" with the pronunciation of Japanese. This is the Japanese classics novel which is almost like the origin of Japanese literature.

It's unavoidable to look upon this novel with mixed feelings, though you may wonder whether an excellent novel know borders. My mixed feelings is not for tiny nationalism. But I have enough to worry about these golden days of Japanese novels. I am more uncomfortable with the Japanese novel 1000 years ago.

Now is the golden days of Japanese novels. What should I do?

--- unquote ---

こんな中、ただ見過ごせない小説がまた出版された。日本が世界最古の小説だとする『源氏物語(ゲンジイヤギ)』 (全10冊、ハンギル社)だ。ノーベル文学賞受賞作家の川端康成が「これに比べれば私のは小説はではない」と称賛し、 韓国の識者の間でも原語そのまま(げんじものがたり)で通じる、日本文学の源流 のような古典だ。



--- 引用終わり ---

This writer says;

"the novel which I can not overlook was also published." "I have enough to worry about these golden days of Japanese novels. I am more uncomfortable with the Japanese novel 1000 years ago." Though he says "My mixed feelings is not for tiny nationalism.", he asks himself;
"These are golden days of Japanese novels. What should I do?"

Some Korean people underestimate Japanese novels boom. They say the major cause of this boom is only that Japanese novels are easy to read.
In contrast, this writer tries to look objectively at this boom by objective data.

But in spite of his words, he seem not to be free from "tiny nationalism". This means that he is still under the illusion of "cultural superiority of Korea". I can not answer his question.
But he should squarely face other objective facts, and truly free himself from a nightmare of "national pride".

Then he can approach its answer, can't he?


そうして「取るに足りない民族感情なんかが動いたのではない。」と言いながらも 「日本小説全盛時代だ。どうしたらいいか。」

日本の小説ブームについては、「日本の小説は軽いのですぐ読める」と言って軽視する意見も韓国内にはあるようです。 しかしこの人はデータをそろえ、日本の小説ブームを客観的に見ようとしています。

しかしその言葉にかかわらず、彼は「取るに足らない民族感情」から解放されていません。それは「韓国の文化的な優位」 という幻想から自由になってはいないということです。私は「どうしたらいいか。」の答えは持っていませんが、 そのほかのさまざまな客観的事実と向き合い、民族的自尊心という悪夢から解放されるべきだろうと思います。


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