Determination drove writer Yu to open bookstore(柳美里さん強い決意で本屋開業)

Yu Miri speaks during a lecture at the Sakura no Seibo Junior College in Fukushima on July 13.(南相馬市の魅力などを語る柳美里さん=7月13日、福島市・桜の聖母短大)

 Writer Yu Miri recently spoke at a local junior college in Minami-Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, highlighting her unfaltering determination as she struggled to open a bookstore in a disaster-hit area in 2018.
 "I never thought about giving up just because it was difficult," Yu, 53, said during the Fukushima Minyu-organized lecture at the Sakura no Seibo Junior College in Fukushima City.
 The writer opened the bookstore, called "Full House," near JR Odaka Station in Minami-Soma in April 2018.


 "The streets in front of the station were completely dark," Yu said, looking back on the situation in the Odaka district five years ago when an evacuation order there had just been lifted.
 "I realized the only business I could run was a bookstore, and without any expertise or planning, I started taking action."


 Yu believes bookstores play a role in connecting readers with authors, but the recent trend among consumers has seen rapidly growing movement away from book reading.
 So she soon faced a harsh reality experienced by other bookstore owners she knows who told her things like "You'll go into debt," and, "You can't do this unless it's a hobby."


 In an area where the population and the number of bookstores have decreased because of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and the resulting nuclear accident in Fukushima Prefecture, it was difficult to secure a distributor, which acts as an intermediary between publishers and bookstores. However, she "miraculously" found such an agency.
 "If you work to do something that is necessary, someone will always be there to help you," she said.


 After the disaster, Yu appeared on a talk show on Minami-Soma Hibari FM, a radio station that had been set up temporarily to provide disaster-related information. Her dialogue with about 600 local residents on the radio led her to move to Minami-Soma from Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, in 2015.


 During the lecture, Yu touched on topics that included telling the attentive students of the junior college why she relocated to Minami-Soma and the appeal of the city.

( Translated by The Japan News )


 【 2021年7月14日付・福島民友新聞掲載 】