|The story below is originally published on Mainichi Daily News by Mainichi Shinbun (http://mdn.mainichi.jp).|
|They admitted inventing its kinky features, or rather deliberately mistranslating them from the original gossip magazine.|
|In fact, this is far from the general Japanese' behavior or sense of worth.|
Geeks can't get enough of genitalia picture book for doctors 2006,11,30
Shukan Post 12/8 By Ryann Connell
Akihabara has gone from iPods to pudenda, according to Shukan Post (12/8).
Where the Tokyo district was once best known for its plethora of electronics shops, recent years have seen the otaku swarm into Akihabara and make it their virtual capital.
Now, they've created a huge hit out of "Joseiki to Itami (Vaginas and Pain)," a medical textbook that features a huge hand-drawn painting of female genitalia on its cover.
"We started selling it in September and news spread over the web, which sent sales skyrocketing.
Salarymen in their 20s and 30s are buying most of the copies.
But I still have absolutely no idea why it's selling so well," Junpei Kawasaki, operator of Akihabara store Sangatsu Usagi, tells Shukan Post.
"Joseki to Itami" is only 12 pages long and sells for a whopping 1,800 yen.
Sangatsu Usagi is deeply involved in the otaku culture, filling its shelves with computer parts, the fan manga known as dojinshi, dress-ups for cosplayers and all sorts of other otaku paraphernalia, including the genitalia picture book, which is widely referred to among the geeks as "the vagina book."
Those looking for a turn-on from the bestseller are almost bound to be disappointed.
It devotes much of the little space it has to such issues as endometriosis and pre-menstrual syndrome.
And, living up to its name as "the vagina book," "Joseiki to Itami" also includes charts of a woman's nether regions.
A spokesman from the book's distributor, Apply Corp., laughs when asked about the commercial success of "Joseiki to Itami."
"'Joseiki to Itami' was originally part of a series of medical textbooks produced in picture book format by an American publisher.
The Japanese translation first came out in January 2004," the spokeswoman tells Shukan Post.
"It's supposed to be a book for doctors, so when Sangatu Usagi placed an order with us, we all thought it was a bit weird the book was selling in Akihabara.
But then, thanks to Sangatsu Usagi, 'Joseiki to Itami' has become by far the best-selling book in the series.
As to why it's selling so well, though, we wouldn't have a clue."
Some of those buying the book have a clearer idea of its appeal.
"It's sort of like a book filled with grotesque art," a 30-something salaryman says.
"This is the sort of book I can put up on my shelves and the cover almost looks like a painting."
Even though it seems the book has nothing to do with sating sexual desires, a salaryman in his 20s says there is something of an association.
"I thought I'd buy it to give me some help seducing any women I could bring back to my home," the salaryman tells Shukan Post.
"If it's a medical textbook, it's gonna seem more like a gag than anything dirty."
(By Ryann Connell)
November 30, 2006