Of course I would stop by bookstores for a browse. They're such happy places. I'm thrilled by the range of books in a language that our local bookstores don't fully carry, and I don't have to put in a request to Kinokuniya Singapore to bring them in. Non-English hard copy books is the one luxury I'd allow, instead of buying them as e-books. When I made time to stop by Maruzen, Kinokuniya and Books Toranomon for a browse.
Picked up a book on the shelf proclaiming 'bestsellers'. Yoshino Genzaburo's (1899-1991) 'How Do You Live?' (published in 1937); 吉野 源三郎 の小説『君たちはどう生きるか』. It's part of a series of 16 books, and this last one in the series was written for junior high school children, with the aim of developing their social awareness. The series is co-wrriten and co-edited by Yuzo Yamamoto (山本 有三), except this last one, because he died. I'd have very likely read the children's version years ago, but I have no recollection of its storyline or understood the full meaning of the book.
I understand that there're a few editions of this book, each given a different focus by its publisher- Iwanami Shoten published it as an adult book in 1982, Shinchosha and Poplar published it respectively in 1956 and 1967 as a children's book. The edition I bought is intended to be a standalone new edition published in 2017 by Magazine House. I should have bought the manga version illustrated by Shoichi Haga (羽賀翔一)! Way fewer words, more illustrations. Hahaha.
1937 marked the Marco Polo Bridge Incident in Beiping (now Beijing) leading to the Second Sino-Japanese War, and the start of that ridiculous notion of the Greater Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. It was also the period when the Peace Preservation Law of 1894 morphed into the strict Public Security Preservation Law of 1925. This is an easy book to go through (never mind that I didn't fully comprehend some of the poetic aspects of the language), but its themes and notions are mind-boggling, although it was written in 1930s and I'm reading this with hindsight and new eyes, and in a new social context in 2018, and without the uhhh shackles of Japanese traditions. When I finished it, I wasn't really sure that it was meant to be a children's book. Or rather, if this was/is what children read, then they are really more politically aware and socially conscious than the children I know in my social circles.