Satoshi Azuchi Supermarket: A Novel

ISBN 13: 9780312382940

Supermarket: A Novel

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9780312382940: Supermarket: A Novel

A modern classic of literature in Japan, Supermarket is a novel of the human drama surrounding the management of a supermarket chain at a time when the phenomenon of the supermarket, imported postwar from the US, was just taking hold in Japan.   When Kojima, an elite banker resigns his job to help a cousin manage Ishiei, a supermarket in one of Japan’s provincial cities, a host of problems ensue.  Store employees are stealing products, the books are in disaray, and the workers seem stuck in old ways of thinking.  As Kojima begins to give all his time over to the relentless task of reforming the store’s management, a chance encounter with a woman from his childhood causes him to ask the age-old question: is the all encompassing pursuit of business success really worth it?  Sincere and naive in tone, Supermarket takes us back to a simpler, kinder time, and  skillfully presents the depictions of its characters alongside a wealth of information concerning Japanese post WWII recovery and industrialization.  

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About the Author:

Satoshi Azuchi was born in Tokyo. After graduating from the University of Tokyo’s Faculty of Law, he went to work at the Summit chain of supermarkets, and helped make what was then a middle-ranking firm into one of the top chains in Japan. Azuchi made his writing debut in 1981 with Distribution Industry, the Novel, later retitled Supermarket.  Since, Supermarket has been a consistant top seller in Japan, and is considered a classic of modern Japanese literature. 

From Booklist:

Azuchi’s portrait of earnestly naïve protagonist Kojima acquires a “stranger-in-a-strange-land” flavor as the urban-banker-turned-supermarket-chain-manager assists the chain’s managing director—his cousin—in the provinces. He learns the ropes of the “SSDDS” (self-service discount department store), which features clothing as well as groceries, discovering passions in himself for display banners and shiny floors as he confronts a new world of opportunities. Set amidst office politics so intense that subversive employees literally slice into each other swearing blood oaths, Kojima’s story is a tale of corporate capitalism, of acquisitions and mergers, of entrenched loyalties. Although Western readers may tire of flipping back for help in differentiating the unfamiliarly named, they will find quite compelling such moments as when Kojima, heeding the advice of outside consultant Kameyama, begins uncovering a trusted employee’s theft of high-end meat and also financial records in turmoil. A consistently strong seller since its first publication in 1981, this novel about Japan’s obsession with business will absorb and inform American Japanophiles. --Whitney Scott

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Azuchi, Satoshi
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