Justin McCurry “Japanese woman is bestselling poet – aged 99” http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jan/26/japanese-woman-bestselling-poet-99
Toyo Shibata only started writing when she was 92; now, as she prepares to celebrate her 100th birthday, her poems are finding an eager audience in Japan as it reels from two decades of economic malaise and faces up to an uncertain future.
Shibata's anthology, Kujikenaide [Don't Lose Heart], has sold 1.5m copies since its publication, in late 2009.
The self-published collection of 42 poems is proving literary balm to a country confronted with economic decline and questions over how to fund welfare and pensions for the growing population of over-65s.
The book has been the most popular title on Japan's keenly watched Oricon chart for the past two weeks and was among the 10 most popular titles of last year. After recording impressive early sales, the book was taken on by the publisher Asuka Shinsha and reissued, with new artwork, last spring.