Reuters on 『蟹工船』

『キャリー』はいまなら送料を別にすれば、1円で買える。でもそれは、この小説の価値がないことを意味しない。あまりに市中在庫があるので、あらたな文脈を示さない限り、本に商品価値がないだけである。その意味で、小林多喜二の『蟹工船』がこれだけ売れるのも、「文脈」の勝利である。『蟹工船』のコンテンツなら、すでに著作権保護期間が過ぎており、青空文庫で公開されている。 出版とはコンテンツを売る商売ではなくて、コンテキストを売る商売である。 *1

Yoko Kubota “Old Marxist novel revived by Japan's economic anxiety”


Hirokazu Toeda, a professor at Waseda University in Tokyo, said: "I think the keywords here are sympathy and similarities. Young people are sympathizing because they see themselves and today's situation today in the novel."

But while the story resonates, the novel is unlikely to hold practical lessons for workers in present-day Japan, where labor union membership has been in decline for decades and only a tiny minority of voters back leftist political parties.

"The sympathy is sporadic and I don't think it will lead to organized movements," Toeda said. "The readership is too fragmented."

Toeda, the professor, said a feeling of insecurity was attracting people to the story. "Things are different now from the stable employment conditions of Japan's period of high economic growth," he said. "Lifetime employment is gone and it's uncertain whether people will receive their pensions."

That said, readers said they were unlikely to take to the streets against their capitalist employers.

"The novel's like a dream, everyone uniting, fighting, and winning together," said Toru Sakai, a 24-year-old blue-collar worker. "But I doubt we'll see that type of reaction now."