Thursday, March 20, 2008

200,000 Read Mieko's Blog

Mieko Kawakami, has just been heralded as Japan’s biggest literary star. Her fame has not been created between the jackets but on the Internet were her poetic, street-wise writing has not only stood out among the many Internet diaries but has achieved the 31-year-old, former bar hostess and bookstore clerk, this year's Akutagawa Award. Theaward is named after "Rashomon" author Ryunosuke Akutagawa and is Japan's most prestigious honor for a new writer in Japan.

According to the blog trackers Technorati Inc, there are more blog posted in Japanese than any other language, some 37% or 1.5 million a day. Postings in English only account for 36% of all blogs are, according to., which tracks nearly 113 million blogs globally. Last year, Technorati found 37 percent of all postings were in Japanese - about 1.5 million per day and greater than all the postings in English, 36%. It is said that more content in Japan is personal in it nature whilst in the US and UK it is media orientated and news based.

Kawakami's readership has skyrocketed from its early days in 2003 to around 10,000 a day and a staggering 200,000 on the day she won the Akutagawa. She started the blog to draw attention to her music, but the early entries became her first book. Her third book won the Akutagawa.

Kawakami's award-winning novella, "The Breast and the Egg," covers new territory in Japanese literature; divorce, the question of beauty and solitary womanhood and have huge appeal to Japanese women.

Will blogs become books or authors become blogers? The book is starting to cut itself free from the book straightjacket and creative writing will continue to flourish irrespective. Japanese culture is significantly different from western culture but the remarkable acceptance of the blog and Keitai novels will have an influence on all in this global market.