Cover image for Supermarket
Azuchi, Satoshi, 1937-
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Sh*osetsu s*up*am*aketto. English
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Thomas Dunne Books, 2009.

Physical Description:
329 pages ; 22 cm
General Note:
"Previously published in Japan as Shosetsu supamaketto by Kodansha Co. Ltd., Tokyo"--T.p. verso.

Translated from the Japanese.
Added Author:
Format :


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FICTION Adult Fiction Central Library

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When Kojima, an elite banker resigns from his job to help a cousin manage Ishiei, a supermarket in one of Japan's provincial cities, a host of problems ensue. Store employees are stealing products, the books are in disarray and the workers seem stuck in old ways of thinking.

Author Notes

Satoshi Azuchi was born in Tokyo. After graduating from the University of Tokyo's Faculty of Law, he went to work at the Summit chain of supermarkets, and helped make what was then a middle-ranking firm into one of the top chains in Japan. Azuchi made his writing debut in 1981 with Distribution Industry, the Novel , later retitled Supermarket.  Since, Supermarket has been a consistant top seller in Japan, and is considered a classic of modern Japanese literature. 

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Azuchi's portrait of earnestly naïve protagonist Kojima acquires a stranger-in-a-strange-land flavor as the urban-banker-turned-supermarket-chain-manager assists the chain's managing director his cousin in the provinces. He learns the ropes of the SSDDS (self-service discount department store), which features clothing as well as groceries, discovering passions in himself for display banners and shiny floors as he confronts a new world of opportunities. Set amidst office politics so intense that subversive employees literally slice into each other swearing blood oaths, Kojima's story is a tale of corporate capitalism, of acquisitions and mergers, of entrenched loyalties. Although Western readers may tire of flipping back for help in differentiating the unfamiliarly named, they will find quite compelling such moments as when Kojima, heeding the advice of outside consultant Kameyama, begins uncovering a trusted employee's theft of high-end meat and also financial records in turmoil. A consistently strong seller since its first publication in 1981, this novel about Japan's obsession with business will absorb and inform American Japanophiles.--Scott, Whitney Copyright 2009 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Azuchi's 1981 post-WWII novel, a perennial favorite in Japan, focuses on the then-new concept of the supermarket chain. Tired of toiling for big business, successful banker Kojima Ryosuke decides to trade in his job to work with his cousin Ishikari's burgeoning supermarket chain. As he begins to examine their methods and find new ways to sell products, Kojima alarms the company's rank-and-file, in particular managing director Ichimura, who has his own agenda. Unbeknownst to Kojima, select employees are meeting in secret to support Ichimura and ensure "he continues to be the [company's] guiding spirit." Working with a consultant, Kojima soon discovers troubling departmental practices, including the sale of unsafe foods, contaminated work areas and employee theft, but his attempts to uncover the depth of the problem could put a halt to the company's expansion. This pleasing novel makes a revealing commentary on loyalty, trust and progress in a rapidly changing Japan. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved