May 23, 2022

Japan: “Gibberish Book Draws Fire For Inclusion in National Library at Taxpayer’s Expense”

From The Asahi Shimbun (English Language Site):

Empowered as the repository of the nation’s publications, the National Diet Library has paid a one-man Tokyo publisher about 1.36 million yen ($11,333) for copies of a nonsensical book he created as a “work of art.”

After the addition of the book “Asho,” published by Risu no Shobo in Tokyo’s Sumida Ward, drew fire online, library officials contacted the man on Oct. 28 about returning the copies to him.

Critics argue that the man is only interested in “compensation money,” which the library pays to publishers for copies that will be preserved in the repository.


Under the law, publishers are required to deposit a copy of their publications in the National Diet Library.

The step is aimed to contribute to a broader circulation of publications, and those that have been published in “certain numbers” are eligible to be included at the national entity.

In return, the National Diet Library pays the publishers half of the prices of the publications and shipping fees as “compensation money.”

Read the Complete Article (676 words)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.