Japan

By Makiko Kitamura

Top ten works of nonfiction, as of April 2005, based on sales data compiled by Nippon Shuppan Hanbai Inc. (Nippan), Japan's largest book and magazine distributor.

1. How Smart and Stupid People Talk, by Yuichi Higuchi. This "essential guide to avoid being called an idiot" cautions that stupidity can be revealed in even the most casual of conversations.

2. Why Bamboo-Pole Sellers Won't Go Bankrupt and Other Accounting Mysteries, by Shinya Yamada. A pop approach to accounting.

3. The Etiquette of Good Humor, by Takashi Saito. If you want to raise your productivity and uncover your hidden talents, get rid of sulky moods.

4. The Idiot Wall, by Takeshi Yoro. Aims to explain and relieve the frustrations felt by adversaries: bosses and subordinates, the young and the elderly, Americans and Islamic fundamentalists. A best seller since 2003.

5. The Art of Healthy Living, by Hiroyuki Itsuki. How one man's unorthodox lifestyle has enabled him to avoid hospitals for fifty years.

6. The Hag-ification of Aging Women: Reclaiming Female Sexuality, by Chizuru Misago. A health expert takes a second look at the older female body.

7. Change Your Fortune Through Zodiac Science, by Kazuko Hosoki. A guide to managing your health, your job, and your finances through astrology and feng shui.

8. A Korean in Japan: Torn Between Two Motherlands, by Kang Sang-jung. Insights into Japanese-Korean relations from a University of Tokyo professor of information studies.

9. Essays in Idleness for Everyday Life, by Takashi Saito. The contemporary relevance of a much revered fourteenth-century classic by Kenko Yoshida.

10. How to Write Prose That Suggests Intelligence, by Juzo Koizumi. A sort of Elements of Style for Japanese communicators.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2005/07/japan/304068/