Osamu Dazai’s No Longer Human became the bestselling Japanese Literature in the U.S, thanks to Junji Ito’s manga of the same name and due to the popularity of Osamu Dazai, the protagonist of the series Bungou Stray Dogs.
Dazai’s novel currently ranks 200 among all books sold in the country, with an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 on the website. It managed to exceed 500,000 copies in circulation since its introduction in 1958.
The public relations of New Directions, a publisher of literature and poetry from around the world, commented on No Longer Human’s rising fame, saying that this boom started around 2020. This was around the same time when Junji Ito’s No Longer Human manga was released in the U.S in English.
TikTok also contributed in making Dazai’s No Longer Human the bestseller according to writer Matt Alt, who is familiar with Japanese and American pop culture.
“More and more young people are interested in Dazai in anime, and TikTok has 20 videos with the hashtag #dazaiosamu to share the topic. It has been played over 100 million times,” he said.
The book also features in the “Seen on TikTok” category in a physical store operated by Amazon in Los Angeles.
Alt also added that the book was becoming increasingly appealing to Americans, as they found themselves in a similar scenario as the novel’s plot.
“The number of young people who cannot find a place in society is increasing in the United States, and Dazai’s theme, which has a sense of alienation toward society, is becoming easier to accept,” the writer said.
Manga and Japanese literature are becoming increasingly popular in the U.S. According to a recent report, manga sales made up over 76% of sales by volume of the overall comics and graphic novel category in the United States in 2021.
Manga also dominated the best selling novels list in January 2022 in United States, with Chainsaw Man, Demon Slayer and Jujutsu Kaisen leading the pack.
Source: Daily Shincho