Erotic bestseller “Fifty Shades of Grey” will hit Japanese bookshelves this week, its publisher said Tuesday, hoping to repeat the breathless success it has enjoyed around the world.
The novel, which features a sado-masochistic sexual relationship between a young college graduate and a billionaire tycoon, is expected to be a particular hit among Japanese housewives, the publisher said.
“We have high hopes for the book, which has become a cultural phenomenon in the Western world,” said Takayuki Yorimitsu of Hayakawa Publishing Corp.
“We are seeing a strong level of pre-orders from bookstores. Considering the pattern seen overseas, we believe it should attract women in their 30s and 40s,” he said.
The firm is hoping Japan’s voracious readers will find the racy romance as satisfying as their contemporaries in Britain and the United States, where it has dominated the bestseller lists.
“Once we received a rough translation, we found it easy to read and very accessible,” Yorimitsu said.
“This is a book that casual readers, or even non-readers of novels will like,” he said.
The Japanese translation, which will be published on Thursday comes in two volumes and runs to a bumper 800 pages. The English language version runs to around 500.
Translator Makiko Ikeda, who has worked on novels by “The Bone Collector” writer Jeffery Deaver and Kay Scarpetta-creator Patricia Cornwell, was hired for the job, producing what Yorimitsu said was a “nail-biting page turner.”
Ikeda has also produced translations of works by “Fight Club” author Chuck Palahniuk and Scottish literary bad boy Irvine Welsh.
Hayakawa is preparing to release the Japanese editions of the second and third installments of the English language series next year.
Despite its huge commercial success, “Fifty Shades of Grey”, by British author E.L. James, has been criticized for its clunky prose and unbelievable characterizations.
A Hollywood film adaptation of the book is reported to be forthcoming.