My claim that you could find a better selection of twentieth-century second-hand English books in the Kanda district of Tokyo than you would in Charing Cross Road in London may have been hard to believe, but a CNN travel site says (March 11):
“Despite being a land where few actually speak English, the Jimbocho [Jinbōchō or Jimbōchō is the part of Kanda where most of the bookshops are concentrated] English language book stores are often on par with anything around the world.”
“In Jimbocho, Tokyo’s secondhand book district, many of the booksellers are likely to be the last generation of vendors to sell secondhand books in this neighborhood. The danger of extinction, however, only makes these bookshops more valuable.”
I hope the prediction is overly gloomy. The area still has vitality. The Japanese haven’t yet embraced ebooks, but all the usual threats to bookshops apply. The article recommends:
Kitazawa, founded 1902, www.kitazawa.co.jp,
Bondi Books, www.bondibooks.com,
Subun-So (which it misspells), founded 1941, www.abaj.gr.jp/subunsoshoten and
Book Brother Genkido, www.genkido.jp.
Kitazawa is showing all twelve volumes of A Study of History in English on its home page, with dust jackets, and apparently in excellent condition – for ¥60,000 or $650! A bargain. I might call them.