When Karl Marx alerted economists to the “the knell of capitalist private
property” he probably didn’t imagine the phrase cropping-up as a speech
bubble in a comic strip for Japanese commuters, says The Times.
But across the world’s second biggest economy, bookstores from Hiroshima to
Hokkaido are preparing for what they expect to be the publishing phenomenon
of the year: Das Kapital – the manga version.
The comic, which goes on sale early next month, plays into a growing
fascination among Japan’s hard-working labour force with socialist
literature and joins a collection of increasingly fierce literary critiques
of the global capitalist system.
The Telegraph adds: The appearance of the famous economic treatise in the form of a comic is the latest sign of a resurgence of leftwing literature in Japan as the world's second largest economy sinks into recession.
The rise of part-time workers and increasing erosion of financial security have fuelled a boom in Communist Party membership in Japan along with a fashionable revival of anti-capitalist literature.
Manga has long been elevated to an art form in Japan, with its most high-profile fans including the prime minister Taro Aso.
The dramatic shift to the left in Japanese literary tastes has even revived
domestic socialist tracts of the 1930s: one of the strongest selling books
of the year, at nearly half a million copies, is Kanikosen – a savagely
bleak, novel depicting violence, exploitation and revolution aboard a
crabmeat canning ship, says The Times.
The book has somehow pinched a nerve in 21st century Japan. When Kanikosen was
reprinted earlier this year, Tokyo’s largest bookshop put a poster at the
front of the store reading: “Revival of the book that describes the cruel
labour environment of the past: an environment similar to that of the
current working poor in 2008.”