Japanese readers look to Marx amid pandemic

Books related to Karl Marx's "Capital" are selling well in Japan. Publishers say people could be more conscious of social issues, such as economic inequality and environmental destruction, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

German philosopher and economist Karl Marx published "Das Kapital" in 1867. It studies the mechanism of capitalism and analyzes its problems. It had an enormous impact on the development of global economic systems.

Books related to "Capital" have become popular in Japan in recent months. One of them was published by Associate Professor Saito Kohei of Osaka City University last September.

It argues that it will be difficult for capitalism, which pursues economic growth by putting burdens on the environment, to resolve the issues of global warming or economic divide. The book has sold 300,000 copies.

Other related books, including commentaries on "Capital" and analytic reports on labor systems in modern society, are also attracting readers.

Staff at a major bookstore in Tokyo have voiced surprise at the growing interest in Marx among young people. They say more people seem to regard inequality and environmental deterioration as imminent problems and wonder whether current social systems can solve those problems.