The main publishing house for mystery (and Sci-Fi) in Japan is Hayakawa, a Tokyo company started by Kiyoshi Hayakawa in 1945. They printed paperback editions of the Ian Fleming books, using a variety of designs over the years that included illustrations and movie stills. Their main design concept for all of their books and series, however, was to place mystery and Sci-Fi in the world of modern expressionism through the use of abstract paintings. One of the coolest features of the early releases was the addition of slipcases- for paperbacks! I love that sense of detail and style (see first image). There were also early Fleming books printed with a blood-splatter motif, as seen in the Moonraker jacket below. These were published by Somoto-sha (est. 1954), who also specialized in mystery and Sci-Fi. Here are some samples of James Bond books from Japan.
Hayakawa also printed a number of Raymond Benson's 007 titles, including Man With the Red Tattoo, High Time to Kill, The Facts of Death, and Zero Minus Ten. As you can see, the company continued with their traditional abstract motif for the covers. The story in Raymond Benson's Red Tattoo takes place in Japan and a museum was built on Naoshima dedicated to the book. I wonder how my Miki Zero novel will be received there? The character is quite stylish, so I'm hoping for a line of Mod clothing! Stay tuned tomorrow for more Hayakawa book treasures from Spy Vibe!
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