Japanese writer Haruki Murakami is the most-read foreign novelist in South Korea, according to a recent poll.
Reflecting the Murakami boom here, Korea Gallup said that 24 percent of 1,230 people aged 19 and over surveyed said they had read a book by the popular Japanese author.
Forty-five percent of the respondents said they were aware of Murakami, but had not read any of his novels. Another 31 percent said they did not know who he was.
The Japanese novelist was more popular with female readers, with 28 percent of them saying they have read his work. Among the male respondents, the figure was 19 percent.
Murakami’s latest novel “Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage” has been at the top of the nation’s best-seller lists at bookstores for five consecutive weeks.
The strong sales performance of Murakami books is one of the few bright spots in the Korean publishing industry, which is struggling to fight a protracted slump. A growing number of Korean readers are shifting to multimedia entertainment on mobile devices from paper-based books. The country’s e-book market remains sluggish as well.
Notably, Gallup’s poll also showed that Murakami was not the No. 1 writer among Korean readers as far as preference was concerned. Asked who their favorite foreign writer was, French fiction writer Bernard Werber, known for the hit series “The Ants,” topped the list, receiving 5 percent of the vote.
American novelist Ernest Hemingway ranked third in the favorite writer ranking. Other writers in the preference list included Leo Tolstoy, Pearl S. Buck, Alain de Botton and J. K. Rowling.
By Jin Eun-soo (firstname.lastname@example.org