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Book Covers

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Japanese books

Japanese literature has a rich tradition with a huge population of writers and readers. There are many fiction writers, from the classical authors like Natsume Souseki to the modern authors like Haruki Murakami.

Many Japanese also enjoy non-fiction writings and the sales musings by well-known personalities are often best-sellers.

That being said though, there is a sign that the world of bookstores is going through a downturn. Many old bookstores are closing, and the numbers of book sales are declining.

In this simple blog by Yukiko Takane sensei explains one quaint custom that still exists in bookstores in Japan.

You can read this blog below and also listen to fluent Japanese by watching the video. The video also shows some beautiful examples of the topic in question, the book covers themselves.

Book Covers


By TAKANE Yukiko


本屋さんのレジでの会話です。 本屋さんでかけてくれるブックカバー。 元々は複数階ある本屋さんで、もう買った本か、まだ買っていない本かの目印のために、カバーをかけたそうです。 その習慣は今でも残り、文庫本新書を買うとカバーをかけてくれます。 本屋さんによっては、個性のあるブックカバーがあるようです。

ブックカバーを書皮と呼び、書皮大賞を選ぶ全国大会があります。 2015年の大賞は岩手県大槌町にある本屋さんです。 この町は東日本大震災で大きな被害を受けました震災前の観光地図がブックカバーになっています。 カバーを見ながら昔を懐かしむ人達がいるそうです。 私も2009年に選ばれたカバーを持っていました! 身近な本屋さんが大賞に選ばれていて、驚きました。 お気に入りのブックカバーで読書に花を添えるのもいいですね。

成田のショッピングモールの本屋さんでは外国の方にも声をかけるそうです。 みなさんはどうですか。

To listen to this blog, please watch our Youtube video. 


本屋(ほんや)さんのレジでの会話(かいわ)です。 本屋(ほんや)さんでかけてくれるブックカバー。 元々(もともと)は複数階(ふくすうかい)ある本屋(ほんや)さんで、もう買(か)った本(ほん)か、まだ買(か)っていない本(ほん)かの目印(めじるし)のために、カバーをかけたそうです。 その習慣(しゅうかん)は今(いま)でも残(のこ)り、文庫本(ぶんこぼん)新書(しんしょ)を買(か)うとカバーをかけてくれます。 本屋(ほんや)さんによっては、個性(こせい)のあるブックカバーがあるようです。

ブックカバーを書皮(しょひ)と呼(よ)び、書皮大賞(しょひたいしょう)を選(えら)ぶ全国大会(ぜんこくたいかい)があります。 2015年(ねん)の大賞(たいしょう)は岩手県(いわてけん)大槌町(おおつちちょう)にある本屋(ほんや)さんです。 この町(まち)は東日本大震災(ひがしにほんだいしんさい)で大(おお)きな被害(ひがい)を受(う)けました震災前(しんさいまえ)の観光地図(かんこうちず)がブックカバーになっています。 カバーを見(み)ながら昔(むかし)を懐(なつ)かしむ人達(ひとたち)がいるそうです。 私(わたし)も2009年(ねん)に選(えら)ばれたカバーを持(も)っていました! 身近(みじか)な本屋(ほんや)さんが大賞(たいしょう)に選(えら)ばれていて、驚(おどろ)きました。 お気(き)に入(い)りのブックカバーで読書(どくしょ)に花(はな)を添(そ)えるのもいいですね。

成田(なりた)のショッピングモールの本屋(ほんや)さんでは外国(がいこく)の方(かた)にも声(こえ)をかけるそうです。 みなさんはどうですか。

Book Covers

“Would you like us to put a cover on it?”
“Yes, please.”
This is a conversation I had at the counter of a bookstore. These are the book covers that they put on for me in the bookstore. In what was originally a multi-floored bookstore, they put a cover on a book that I had already bought and one on a book that I hadn't bought yet to mark them clearly for me. This custom still exists, they have book covers for paperback books and for new books as well. And depending on the bookstore, some have book covers which have some individuality.

They call book covers 'book jackets' and there is a national competition in which a Book Jacket Grand Prize is selected. In 2015 the Grand Prize went to a bookstore in Ootsuchi Cho, Iwate Prefecture. This town was heavily damaged in the Great East Japan earthquake. Some people feel nostalgic when they look at this book cover. I own the cover that was chosen for the 2009 Grand Prize! I was so surprised that a familiar bookstore was chosen for the Grand Prize. It is nice to grace your reading with a favorite book cover.

At a shopping mall at Haneda airport, they ask the question to foreign customers too. What about you?
“Would you like to put a cover on it?”

複数階(ふくすうかい)Multiple floors

目印(めじるし) mark


文庫本(ぶんこぼん)paperback editions

新書(しんしょ)new books


書皮(しょひ)book jacket

大賞(たいしょう)grand prize

東日本大震災(ひがしにほんだいしんさい)Great East Japan earthquake

被害(ひがい)を受(う)ける be damaged

震災(しんさい) earthquake (disaster)



花(はな)を添(そ)える grace

声(こえ)をかける talk to


Hajimemashite, I am Yukiko Takane.
I live in Chiba Prefecture. My hometown is near the ocean and is surrounded by rice fields - its a laid-back place. The sashimi and rice is really good here. My family home makes rice as well, so I usually help out during the harvest season. I may look weak, but actually I can lift a 30kg bag of rice.

In the past, I taught Japanese in Saipan and Cebu islands. The people I got to know there are precious to me. I am really looking forward to meeting you all in the online classrooms. I have been called 'Takani' Sensei or 'Okane' sensei by my students. Well, I am not a 'crab' nor am I 'money' - the name is Takane. Doozo yoroshiku onegaishimasu.

Try to use your newly learned vocabulary and phrases all the time in the lessons. Looking forward to meeting you all in class !

Start 3 Trial FlexLessons for only $9 !

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  • マイヤー Saturday, 25 August 2018


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