U.S. Nonfiction on Transgender People Published in Japan amid Threats, Cancellation of Sales in Some Bookstores

Book cover of the Japanese edition of “Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters”

A nonfiction book that interviews and covers the topic of transgender people— individuals whose gender identity differs from the sex they were identified as at birth— was published this month from Sankei Shimbun Publications Inc. amid threats demanding that the publication be canceled. The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department is investigating the threats as a case of obstruction of business.

Some bookstores are refraining from selling the book for safety reasons.

The book is a Japanese translation of the nonfiction “Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters” by U.S. journalist Abigail Schrier, who covers on transgender children and their families. It was published in the U.S. in 2020 and has been translated into French, Spanish and other languages.

The Japanese edition was initially set to be released by Kadokawa Corp. but was canceled in December last year due to divided opinions that came in immediately after the company’s announcement of the publication.

In response, Sankei Shimbun Publications offered to publish the book with a copyright agent, saying that it had questioned why a U.S. bestseller could not be published in Japan. The company stated that “surrendering to intimidations could set a precedent that threatens publishing culture and freedom of expression.”

A staff of a major bookstore chain that canceled sales of the book in all its stores said that it is “not for content reasons, but for safety reasons.”

A person in charge of a different bookstore chain said that it had received threatening e-mails to the effect that if it sold the book, the stores would be harmed, saying “We are suspending sales [of the book] in all our stores to avoid harm to customers and employees.”