The bookstore in Kyoto takes a stand against discrimination following the backlash from YouTuber



A sign reading “We are against eugenics and individual responsibility theory” marks the special corner near the entrance to the Karasuma Sanjo store of Books Ogaki Co. in the Nakagyo district of Kyoto on August 19, 2021. (Mainichi / Kotaro Chigira)

KYOTO – A bookstore here has set up a corner with titles on eugenics and the history of social welfare in a humble but determined act of resistance to comments by Japanese celebrity YouTubers DaiGo that put the lives of homeless and welfare beneficiaries down.

Books Ogaki Co.’s Karasuma Sanjo store is in a business district in the heart of Kyoto and is full of people in the evenings, including office workers, stopping by on their way home from work. The special corner was placed near the entrance next to the new releases.

Only a handful of books graced the shelf, including one with a title that roughly translates to “Please End the Cycle Here: The Nazi Genocide of People with Disabilities and Eugenics” by Katsunori Fujii and edited by Godo-Shuppan and another with the Title “The Tyranny of Merit: What Becomes of the Common Good?” by Michael Sandel, translated by Shinobu Onizawa and published in Japan by Hayakawa Publishing Corp. publishes responsibility that makes man solely responsible for his own fate.

The corner appeared in the bookstore on August 14th at the suggestion of manager Yuko Arai, 35. What moved her to create the corner was the news that the self-proclaimed “mentalist” and celebrity DaiGo was making discriminatory comments against the homeless and individuals had Wohlfahrt on a livestream on his YouTube channel.

Yuko Arai, left, manager of the Karasuma Sanjo store of Books Ogaki Co., and Takuya Kuratsu are seen at the bookstore in Kyoto’s Nakagyo district on August 19, 2021. (Mainichi / Kotaro Chigira)

“I like the idea of ​​sorting people’s lives by productivity, or whether they’re useful or not,” said Arai. She founded the corner out of a desire “to let people know that there is a non-eugenics point of view and to educate them about the history that led to the creation of public aid and other forms of welfare”.

Arai sought the cooperation of Takuya Kuratsu, 42, who approved the plan wholeheartedly and was entrusted with the selection of the books. Kuratsu said he feared that people who read one of the TV life coach’s books, who became a YouTuber, might think that everything DaiGo says is true – even if it’s discriminatory. In choosing the books, he wanted to learn “the background and history that led to the creation of social systems such as welfare, as well as the concepts of mutual aid and public support”.

After the bookstore posted the corner on their Twitter account, it received a lot of positive responses such as “I’m glad a bookstore is trying so hard” and “Adults have to take the lead when it comes to this species to convey views. “Although the shop regularly featured books on its Twitter account, the special book corner met with an unexpectedly large response, which left Arai” surprised and happy “.

The store will not, however, remove from its shelves DaiGo’s publications or books advocating the “individual responsibility” theory. Arai said, “Ultimately, the job of a bookstore is to get readers what they want. I think there are people who want DaiGo books, so we can’t get rid of them because there are different views.

“As a local bookstore, we want to disseminate a variety of information to help young people take in and form their own opinions,” Arai continued. The books in the special corner were slowly but surely being sold, and now everyone has found a new home. The store said it would consider reinstalling the corner if there were requests from customers wanting to buy the books.

(Japanese original by Kotaro Chigira, Kyoto Bureau)



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