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2019.08.30 Hong Kong Bookfair Held Without Incident Amid Violent Protests
The 30th Hong Kong Book Fair was held from July 17th through the 23rd. During this time, violent protests were also taking place in Hong Kong to oppose a controversial extradition bill proposed by the Hong Kong government. Though there was some concern about the effect these demonstrations would have on the book fair, the seven-day event was held as planned and without incident. This year’s fair had 686 participating companies and organizations from 39 different countries and regions, the largest number in the fair’s history.

This year marks the sixth year that the Japan Pavilion participated in the Hong Kong Book Fair. Representing Japan at the Pavilion were organizations such as the Consulate-General of Japan in Hong Kong, the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), and the Anime Tourism Association. This year’s goal was to promote inbound tourism to Japan from both the government and private sectors. Wanting to give participants a taste of Japan while in Hong Kong, the Pavilion offered a number of popular interactive workshops such as yukata wearing and manga drawing classes.

The theme of this year’s Hong Kong Fair was “Sci-Fi and Mystery,” and the World of Knowledge Seminar Series featured local and international sci-fi and mystery writers. Japan’s Kanae Minato, a popular mystery writer, participated in the seminar. Minato published her debut novel Kokuhaku in 2007, a mystery that won the 6th Honya Taisho award in 2008. This novel was published in English in 2014 under the title Confessions. In her appearance on a popular 90-minute talk-show, Minato spoke in detail about her experience writing Kokuhaku.

The book fair saw significantly fewer participants on the 21st due to the demonstrations taking place in Hong Kong. However, all things considered, the fair was only minimally affected by the demonstrations. In fact, book sales were quite strong this year; books on topics of politics and social problems in particular saw an increase in sales of over 30% compared to last year’s fair. The Hong Kong Book Fair is scheduled to be held again in July of next year.