Kent Gilbert, a US lawyer active in Japan as a “foreign celebrity”, wrote an anti-Korea and China book titled, “Tragedy of Chinese and Koreans Overtaken by Confucianism” which has already sold over 470K copies and quickly became Japan’s bestseller in 2017. The book continues to trend in Japan.
The book, as the title hints, is filled with heavy criticism of China and Korea, while having only high praise for Japan and its “high moral model” when compared to China and Korea.
A Japanese publication, the Asahi Shimbun, reported that this anti-China/Korea book criticizes the Korean and Chinese people for having “social mores less than that of beasts and birds”.
While the book is also controversial within Japan for its encouragement of discrimination against the Chinese and Korean people, it is on sale and attracting more attention to itself as it claims the bestselling nonfiction title.
With the huge success of his first work, author Kent Gilbert soon released a sequel earlier this year.
Big-name online bookstores like Amazon show a drastic contrast in the book’s reviews. One reader gave the book an all-star rating, stating he/she decided to read the book as it was covered on the Asahi Shimbun and left a review that said, “the book has good content.”
Most positive reviews claim that the book is a must-read for Japanese people.
By contrast, another reader gave it a one-star review, calling the book a “Trump supporting American’s method of trying to make money in Japan by praising the Japanese people” and added, “The author must have no sense of pride.”
Others have also voiced disgust and said the book is for “people who are not globalized.”
Experts believe the controversial book is selling well not only because it speaks highly of the Japanese culture and people, but also because it is written by an American person.
The Asahi Shimbun article reported that the book’s editor initially pitched the idea to the author Ken Gilbert after hearing that the Japanese, Chinese, and Korean people are “different.” The article explained that the editor had Kent Gilbert write the book because “the Japanese people are inclined to hearing from an American point of view” and so “Kent Gilbert writing the book would be more persuasive.”
While an interview with the author had not been arrangeable by the Asahi Shimbun, the editor clarified that the book is not “portraying or encouraging discrimination” but it only “responds to what the people want to know.”