Every Little Thing -Market and Evaluation-
Every Little Thing was first published in May 2007 in Japan. Since then, the book has sold over 400,000 copies.
There are four primary reasons for the book’s success:
1. A TV report featured a high school student with a history of truancy who found the courage to go back to school after reading the book.
2. A top news item on Yahoo.co.jp reported that a reader had been dissuaded from killing himself after reading the book.
3. Strong word of mouth from female readers.
4. The first story in the book, “The Boy and the Beetles,” was featured in official textbooks for ethics classes in schools, and some college entrance exams featured questions related to Every Little Thing.
As a result, the book was translated into Korean and Chinese and published in South Korea, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao, and was turned into a stage play that ran in both 2008 and 2009. Both versions starred two of Japan’s top actresses in the lead role.
The initial run of 200,000 hardcover copies quickly sold out, but no further editions were released due to financial problems suffered by the publisher beginning in fall 2007. The publisher eventually went bankrupt in 2009, and it was not until July 2010 that a paperback edition was released by Kodansha in response to strong demand for the book to be reprinted.
A sequel is on its way with a tentative release date of August 15, 2011.
An impressive short story from Ash Omurah’s “Every Little Thing”, one of the best-selling novels in Asia. A lot of readers shouted “We need not a handkerchief but a towel”.
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Every Little Thing -Story Guideline and Structure-
Every Little Thing is a collection of interrelated short stories. Although most such formats tend to involve a minor character from one story playing a central role in a later story, the book eschews this approach by appropriating a small act of courage taken by one character in the first story as the central force that propels the action of the other stories.
The action in question is the decision of a young boy to buy a “defected” horned beetle that only has five legs instead of a “normal” one that has all six. This action ends up having a significant impact on the troubled characters who appear in the later stories. As mentioned above, the most striking aspect of the book is the impact it has had on readers themselves.
There are two major features of this book.
The first is that the book is unabashedly life affirming. Every character in every story reaches a fully earned happy ending. A lot of fiction is focused around emphasizing a theme by presenting it as a duality—for example, good is recognized by the presence of evil, and fortune is achieved by the existence of misfortune. This is not the case with Every Little Thing, which presents even personal hardship as opportunity for growth and success, instead of focusing on its negative aspects.
The second major feature is the significant use of foreshadowing and plot twists. There are surprises scattered throughout every story, while the book has been constructed so that readers discover as they read on how one story ties in with another. Furthermore, because each story progresses in a relatively straightforward manner, the twists come across clearly no matter the level of the reader. This is perhaps the biggest reason why the book became such a hit, and explains why so many readers claim to have read the book more than once.
Every Little Thing -Story Titles-
1. The Boy and the Beetles
2. The Lunchbox
3. After the Prom
4. She’s Always at Hearty
5. The Business Card
6. The Tale of the Ring Finger
Every Little Thing -Brief Summary of each Chapter-
1. The Boy and the Beetles
One summer day, a young boy walks into an insect shop at a department store to buy a horned beetle. He notices that despite looking like all the other beetles, one cage of beetles features a price tag for ¥300, while the other cages feature a price tag for ¥3,000. He asks the shopkeeper about this disparity, and he tells him that the ¥300 beetles only have five legs. And yet, despite having enough money for a ¥3,000 beetle, the boy decides to buy one of the ¥300 beetles. Why does the boy decide to do this? And what action does this trigger in the shopkeeper?
The story’s powerful rejection of discrimination has led it to be included in elementary school ethics textbooks across Japan.
2. The Lunchbox
Lisa is a middle school student who lost her mother in sixth grade and lives together with her father. Despite it being summer vacation, she goes to summer school during the day and cram school at night in hopes that she will make the grades to enter La Versa Academy, the most prestigious high school in her district.
Lisa has a friend, Imari, who lives in a large, luxurious house and has a father who always comes home from work early. Lisa, on the other hand, lives in a small, battered house, and her father is always out late due to work. She feels a sense of injustice about all this, compounded by the fact that she now has to bring in her own lunch to school due it being the summer holidays—fully aware that her lunches are not like the others’.
Her teacher, Dai Matsumoto, discovers the secret about her lunches, and draws a black circle on a small piece of paper to demonstrate something to her—something that encourages Lisa to accept her lack of wealth and continue to work hard within that environment.
How does this simple black circle change Lisa’s view of her disadvantages? What is it that Dai ends up telling Lisa?
Although seemingly unrelated at first with the “The Boy and the Beetles,” this is where readers will have their first taste of the unexpected twists contained within the book.
3. After the Prom
Naomi is a senior at La Versa Academy, and her goal is to get into East Japan University, a prestigious school with exceptionally high entry requirements. Her thick glasses and shy personality have led her classmates to nickname her Miss Nobody.
As the story opens, she finds herself stuck in a special homeroom hour on the first day of Fall Term, forced to listen to everyone talking about the previous night’s dance party—the Prom, as the students like to call it—and gossiping about who danced with who.
Naomi tries to avoid getting into the conversation, until a female classmate asks her who she danced with. When persistent badgering from the other students fails to elicit a response, one male student demands out loud for the person who danced with Naomi to raise his hand. One boy raises his hand—Tomoro.
Tomoro always finds himself at the butt of his classmates’ jokes, either for an all too visible bald spot on his head, or for the fact that he was the only senior to fail to make the cut for the school baseball team’s starting lineup. The worst part is that Tomoro actually isn’t a “benchwarmer” anymore—and only Naomi knows the truth.
Why does Naomi hide the fact that she danced with Tomoro at Prom? And why does Tomoro decide to reveal this to all his classmates?
The story is full of life lessons, parted to Tomoro by his baseball coach, such as:
“Every day that you waste is a day that somebody who died yesterday wished he could have lived..”
“Even a great batter fails to get a hit seven times out of ten. But you don’t see batters skipping their turn because they’re afraid or embarrassed of failing to get to first base. That’s because there’s no such thing as failure in life. In fact, failure is about the only thing you can’t achieve in life. But they’ve got nothing to worry about, because the way life’s been rigged, you just can’t fail.”
These motivational passages have led many readers to comment on the story as a “work of self-help fiction,” with the final scene beautifully depicting Tomoro and Nanami’s passage from childhood into adulthood.
4. She’s Always at Hearty
Reina is a senior at East Japan University, and in the middle of her summer vacation. During the day, she sits in front of her computer and works on her first novel, and at night, she works at a bar called Hearty.
Her novel is a tale of romance, but she is suffering writer’s block—as the story is closely based on her own love life, which itself is impeded by an unrequited crush on one of her regular customers, Jun.
Jun has been coming to Hearty for a year now, ever since he saw the bar name and was reminded of his favorite movie, Breakfast at Hearty’s. Reina and Jun enjoy an easy rapport, and always have something to talk about. He begins to show a deeper interest in Reina’s future when she comes back from a period of student teaching and decides to abort her career as a teacher and focus on becoming a writer—after experiencing a certain incident at the elementary school she was teaching at.
All the while, Reina doesn’t understand Jun’s interest in her life. He has made clear that his ideal woman is Sophie, the heroine of Breakfast at Hearty’s, a woman who Reina in no way resembles. Although she brushes his interest off as curiosity, she can’t help but hope that it will eventually take their relationship to the next level.
Her dreams are seemingly dashed when a girl called Emi who looks exactly like Sophie begins to work at Hearty. Jun begins spending all his time at the bar with Emi, and even stops asking Reina to make him one of her special cocktails like he normally does. As Reina falls deeper into despair, Jun asks her for Emi’s email address—but Reina refuses, fearing that Jun will find out something that Reina knows about Emi, something that may shatter his image of Emi for good.
This story in particular has enjoyed strong popularity among young female readers, especially with its poetic structure and the sensitive portrayal of a young woman in an unrequited relationship.
5. The Business Card
Hoshino is a 28-year-old woman working in sales for a major free magazine company, whose only rival in the department is Michizuka, a charming man who’s only flaw is his repeated attempts to ask Hoshino out—in spite of knowing she has a boyfriend.
One day, Hoshino wins a major contract with IT conglomerate Touchlink, an impressive feat that even her boss had given up on. It instantly solidifies her standing as the top salesperson in the department—and all but ensures her promotion to manager.
However, Michizuka is selected for promotion instead, a decision that her boss blames on the fact that the board of directors didn’t want a woman in that post. Hoshino, however, suspects foul play on the part of both Michizuka and her boss.
Feeling defeated, Hoshino decides to take an early summer vacation. Will she recover from her sense of hopelessness?
Among all the stories, “The Business Card” features perhaps the biggest of the book’s plot twists, revelations that shed new light on not only the story itself but on the book as a whole. A big part of the book’s reputation has been attributed to the subtle ways in which these twists are woven into the story.
6. The Tale of the Ring Finger
Ring is the ring finger on Kanayo’s left hand. He is all too aware of how poorly he dances on the keys of the piano compared to the other fingers, and during an important recital, makes a series of humiliating mistakes. As a result, Kanayo quits the piano and calls Ring “useless.”
Ring loses a lot of faith in himself, and finds that he’s unable to do anything well except cry all the time, in spite the words of encouragement his mother, the index finger, tells him, that “there are no useless fingers in the world.” One day, however, Ring is surprised to find himself crying an entirely different kind of tears…
This is the touching conclusion to the book, written in a similar children’s book style as “The Boy and the Beetles” and considered just as much a classic, if not even more.
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Ash Omurah, née Atsushi Omura(大村あつし), is a mixed media writer who pens works of fiction with film and stage adaptations in mind. He debuted in 1996 as an IT writer with a book on VBA, a programming language built into Microsoft Office, and has since published more than 40 books on IT-related topics. In 2004 alone, he managed to place nine books among the top 14 VBA books on Amazon.co.jp, and he was introduced on a TV show as “Japan’s top IT writer.” After publishing a business management book and a self-help book (which was also a bestseller), Omurah debuted as a fiction writer with Every Little Thing in 2007. He has been referred to as “a magician of the unexpected” thanks to his intricately woven plots, as well as “the Prince of Tears” for his sensitively depicted characters and life-affirming storylines. Other major works include Every Little Thing 2, Mugen Loop (Infinite loop) and Kai-kun no Kimochi (From Kai To You).
EVERY LITTLE THING
MAYBE I’M AMAZED
FROM KAI TO YOU
LIFE IS GETTING BETTER WHEN THINKING MATHEMATICALLY
|나를 뛰어업은 ‘거대한 힘’을 찾는다인생 공식(Korea)|