Iwanami Shinsho’s Map of Books

The shinsho format is a convenient and compact way for commercial publishers in Japan to get contemporaneous nonfiction commentaries on anything—from the relationship of ebi and the Japanese to why centuries-old businesses go bankrupt—to the market very quickly.

Many publishers have their own shinsho series but salt and pepper haired Jimbocho otaku almost universally acknowledge (I think) that Iwanami Shinsho is probably the most authoritative of them all. So many people love the series that you can easily find them in the 100 yen discount carts at almost every second hand book store in Tokyo. Just walk down the main boulevard west from Jimbocho crossing and you’ll see what I mean.

Anyway, I was walking around Maruzen Marunouchi yesterday afternoon (isn’t it cool that Tokyo’s CBD, Japan Inc’s nucleus of power, has an huge big-box book store?) and found this amazing map of Iwanami Shinsho recommendations to take home for free. Which I did, and which is why I’m scanning the map here. What’s even more amazing is that Iwanami Shoten visually shows all the connections of knowledge—from the basics of music, the vernacular of hip hop, the use of English in Japan, the Book of Tea (which Kakuzo Okakura wrote in English), understanding different cultures, to the ABCs of LGBTQ.

Anyway, check this book mind map out, which you can click to embiggen.