99 Y.O. Self-Published Poet’s Mega-Bestseller

Japan’s Toyo Shibata was 92 when she started writing poetry.  Her self-published anthology, “Kujikenaide,” (Don’t Lose Heart) has sold 1.5 million copies in Japan since its publication in 2009.  With sales like that, I’m sure American publishers will take note.  Now that her story has been published in Reuters and is being picked up by mainstream media around the world,  I’m hopeful that it’s only a matter of time before her book hits the shelves in the U.S.  I definitely plan to be in line to buy it.

For more information, here’s “A Little Encouragement” from the blog, From Tokyo to the World.

A Little Encouragement Few people can say they’ve lived as long as Toyo Shibata [柴田トヨ]. At 99, she has seen two world wars, four emperors and 81 prime ministers. Over the span of such a long life, one would hope to acquire valuable wisdom about the world and how to be happy. Ms. Shibata has. She is the author of a bestselling anthology of poetry published early last year with the title “くじけないで,” or “Don’t Be Frustrated” [though I would translate it as more like “Hang i … Read More

Resources: The Daily Post, The Book Bench, From Tokyo to the World
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7 thoughts on “99 Y.O. Self-Published Poet’s Mega-Bestseller

  1. I read about her yesterday and commented that if SHE isn’t an inspiration for all of us writers, or human beings… then we have to look over our qualifications of what inspiration is! There is hope for us all, but I think in her case, good genes and a quick wit helped too!

  2. I’m really glad to see more people out there interested in Ms. Shibata’s work, so I updated my post to include the full translation of the poem she read — my translation, anyway!

    I’m going to get a copy of her book soon and keep posting home translations. If anyone more poetic than I also speaks Japanese and would like to lend a hand, please do!

  3. Olivia, I wanted to let you know I posted three new translations of Toyo’s poems if you and your readers are interested!

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