Visiting Tokyo’s Korean Book Center
It was a place I never managed to get to when I lived in Tokyo, so I decided to visit last week when I was back in Japan.
I had imagined the place would be bigger, but it’s really no larger than an average size room. (Click images below for larger versions)
There are three lines of bookcases with books in Korean and Japanese. There’s also some audiovisual content, which I’ll get to in a moment. I saw only one book in English, a biography of Kim Jong Il.
They include titles in both languages published in Japan by the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (with which the bookstore is linked), books from Japanese and South Korean publishers on the North-South issue, and Korean-language books from North Korea.
Without a doubt, the highlight is the North Korean content, but there is little that is fresh. Most of the books are several years old, if not older. It’s difficult to tell roughly how old the North Korean books are without looking inside however, because the quality of printing and binding makes them look older than contemporary western or Japanese titles.
I managed to locate one of the newest books, and the printing and binding quality is much improved:
There’s one bookcase with audiovisual contents, although the majority of it is taken up by a few hundred VHS cassettes of North Korean TV dramas and cartoons. Some carry the Mokran Video label. There’s a very small DVD selection and a few audio CDs.
Among the DVDs are three computer software titles: a North Korean version of Baduk, a Korean dictionary, and a multimedia CD-ROM on Mount Kumgang. All carried the “Korea Computer Center” label.
If you’re interested in visiting for yourself, here’s how to get there:
The Korea Book Center is located in Hakusan, an old neighborhood in the center of Tokyo that’s served by the Toei Mita line subway.
View Larger Map
It’s open from 1pm to 5pm from Monday to Saturday, closed on Sundays and public holidays. It has a website at www.krbook.net and its phone number is 03-6820-0111.
Take exit A1 from the subway station, turn right when you get to street level and walk about one minute until you hit the major Hakusan Dori.
From the crossing at the corner, you’ll be able to see the large brown building that houses the shop.
It’s easy to spot because of the large shortwave radio antenna on the roof.
The address is Hakusan 4-33, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo; or if you need one in Japanese, it’s: 東京都文京区白山４丁目３３.
Cross over the street, turn right and in no time you’ll be in front of the building.
No related posts.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Martyn Williams on October 9, 2012 at 10:51, and is filed under Culture, Media. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|
about 3 months ago - 14 comments
Sometime in early July, the long-time Japan-based site carrying Korean Central News Agency stories became inaccessible. That was bad news because it carried an archive of KCNA stories going back 18 years and each story had a unique URL, which made it perfect to hyperlinking back to previous articles (There are many KCNA links on North…
about 5 months ago - No comments
Tokyo’s best source of North Korean books is no more. The Korea Book Center has shuttered its website a month after its physical store was closed. The store in the Hakusan neighborhood was operated by the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, better known locally as “Chosen Soren,” and provided a place to pick up…
about 1 year ago - No comments
With Japan and North Korea starting to talk again about the abductee issue, there’s a possibility that Japan could lift some of the travel restrictions it currently places on travel between the two countries. That could include a resumption of sailings by the Mangyongbong-92, a passenger and cargo ferry that used to travel between Niigata and Wonsan.…
about 2 years ago - 4 comments
A Facebook page that claimed to be the official home of North’s Korea’s main national TV channel, Korean Central Television, has disappeared. The page appeared to have been around for at least a month and content included links to KCTV news bulletins on the YouTube channel of the China-based Uriminzokkiri website, photos and stories from…
about 2 years ago - 1 comment
On Thursday, South Korea’s Yonhap reported on a new Facebook page in the name of the Korean Central Television, North Korea’s national TV station. (Updated. See below.) Yonhap said, “North Korea’s state broadcaster started real-time Facebook broadcasting as the communist country moves to expand its propaganda efforts into the social networking realm, official sources said Thursday.” In…
about 2 years ago - No comments
When South Korean workers began leaving the Kaesong Industrial Zone a couple of weeks ago, they returned across the border in cars and trucks laden with as much finished merchandise as possible. Plastic-wrapped packages and boxes didn’t just fill the interior of cars but were stacked high on the roof, sometimes even covering the car’s…
about 3 years ago - 1 comment
A website in Japan has begun offering an archive of several days worth of North Korean TV news broadcasts. [Updated: see below] The Pyongyang News website appears to be affiliated with a handful of sites operated by the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (sometimes known as ‘Chosen Soren’ or ‘Chongryon’) (在日本朝鮮人總聯合會, 재일본 조선인 총련합회). At…
about 3 years ago - 2 comments
Police in Tokyo conducted follow-up raids this week on the office of a North Korean-linked science association as part of an investigation into illegal PC exports. The Korean Association of Science and Technology in Japan (在日本朝鮮人科学技術協会, 재일본조선인과학기술협회) was raided on Tuesday, according to local media reports. Police were investigating a possible link between the group and Lee Soon…