The biggest books of the year feature leg massages and inspirational felines.
A book explaining the importance of massaging one’s calves was the best-selling publication this year in Japan, followed by a book filled with photos of cats accompanied by inspirational messages.
According to the annual best-seller ranking made available Monday by book wholesaler Nippon Shuppan Hanbai Inc., Takako Maki ’s “Nagaiki Shitakerya Fukurahagi wo Mominasai”—which can be roughly translated as “If You Want to Live Long, Rub Your Calves”—was the top-selling book of 2014. It sold approximately 700,000 copies between Dec. 1, 2013, and Nov. 26—and more than a million copies since its release in June 2013, according to its publisher, Ascom Inc.
The 199-page book provides data on the importance of massaging one’s calves, which its author—a Tokyo-based masseuse—argues can ease symptoms of foot and back pain, reduce high blood pressure and improve poor blood circulation. After being featured on a TV show, the book gained huge popularity, especially among women in their 40s to 70s, Nippon Shuppan Hanbai said.
Coming in second on the year’s best-seller list was “Jinsei wa Nyantoka Naru,” featuring words of wisdom alongside photos of cats. The book sold more than 570,000 copies in 2014 and 792,000 since its release in October 2013, said its publisher, Bunkyosha.
The 158-page book includes 68 pictures of cats and a total of 272 famous quotes. It is the follow-up to “Jinsei wa One Chance,” a book that had a similar concept but featured dog photos instead.
One of the book’s pages features a cat pressing its paws together and seemingly pleading for something, with a message (in both English and Japanese) that says, “No embarrassment in depending on others.” Another page shows a cat leaning against a windowsill belly up, with a quote saying, “Slack off even once and it becomes a habit.”
The pages can be easily detached from the book for use as posters. The publisher recommends displaying them near office desks and computers to provide insights.
—From WSJ.com’s “Japan Real Time” blog. Read more at blogs.wsj.com/japanrealtime.