Go Yoshida, talent book collector, sneaks into the “Magic Cave of 10,000 Books”!
Friday's Collecting Original, Vol. 4 "I want to see professional interviewer Yoshida Go's talent book shelf!
Collections are interesting. It is fun to look at a substantial collection that has been assembled according to a specific theme, but it is even more interesting to hear about people who are crazy about collecting. In this series, I will visit various collectors and collect episodes related to their collections. Why do we collect things? What lies beyond what we collect? Friday’s Collecting Original” is a collection file that collects collectors.
This time, we are joined by Go Yoshida, a professional book reviewer and interviewer. He is said to be “more knowledgeable about the subject than the person himself” because of his careful preliminary research and the fact that he has read as many of his subjects’ works as possible. Many of the people he interviews include professional wrestlers and other martial artists, as well as actors, idols, and other entertainers, or “celebrities.
As a result, he has a huge collection of “talent books”. Mr. Yoshida himself often appears in the mass media, and his bookshelf at work is sometimes glimpsed in the background. This alone is a sight to behold, but apparently, the scene is far from that. We infiltrated this “magical cave of talent books”…
Books occupy all of the two apartments.
When I opened the front door, I was greeted by a doll of Tatsuo Umemiya’s pickle shop.
Yoshida That’s actually a doll of a croquette shop called Umetatsu-tei. The shape of the doll is different for a croquette shop and a pickle shop.
This is a topic that is not important to the average person! (laughs)
(laughs) So today I came to see the bookshelf of Mr. Go Yoshida, who has a lot of talent books, but there are so many bookshelves that I can’t really grasp the structure of the room. Is this a 2DK or so?
Yoshida: Yes, it is. This room right after the entrance is 9 tatami mats, and there’s another slightly smaller room in the back. When I first rented the house, I used the entire 9 tatami room as a bookshelf and the room in the back as my living space. My parents’ house had three or four rooms occupied by my books, but they had to give them up to my sister and her husband, so they sent me all their stuff.
Wow, I can’t fit it all in!
Yoshida Then, when I tried to rent another room in this apartment, I couldn’t do it because I didn’t have enough credit, so I was forced to buy an apartment near here.
I had no choice but to buy a condo nearby just for the book.
Yoshida It’s about 70 square meters over there. The other place is bigger, has a TV in the bathroom, and a bigger kitchen, so it’s better for living, but I live here. The reason why I live here is because the larger of the two rooms over there is completely filled with bookshelves. There are bookshelves on all four sides, and bookshelves on the inside.
It’s like a library.
Yoshida You have to walk like this (crab walking) to get through, and there’s no fluorescent light, so I put various lights on the bookshelves. But even with all that work, the inside of the bookshelf is still not organized (laughs). (laughs) There’s also a bed, but the top of the bed is also a storage space, so it’s not functioning. So there is a way to get rid of the bed and completely turn the apartment into a library. ……
I don’t have time for that (laughs).
Yoshida Anyway, the apartment over there is not in a state where people can enter, so I make sure that no one but myself can enter.
This room is also surrounded by bookshelves in all directions, and it doesn’t look like you’ve taken any measures to prevent earthquakes.
Yoshida I’m not worried at all. When the Great East Japan Earthquake struck, the other apartment was not so badly damaged because I had used various quake-resistant goods, and some bookshelves collapsed in this room.
─ Do you know how many books you have in your collection now?
Yoshida I haven’t counted them, so it’s a bit of a guess, but I think there are about 30,000 books on
Manita Shobo’s collection is up to 5,000 books, so that’s eight houses of
Yoshida There used to be a bookshelf in this room right up to where we are now. But then we decided to broadcast a show called “Gou’s Room” (*
What kind of reaction do you get from the girls when they see this room?
Yoshida: “The room is full of books” or “It’s like a used bookstore. That’s 90% of the time. Very few of them are even interested in the books on the shelves. Some men get excited and say, “Ooooh! or something like that. When Mr. Kan Takagi came to the store a while ago, he kept looking through the books. Also, people like Oken (Kenji Otsuki) and others. Among the girls, Uesaka Sumire was also very excited, but I think she felt that it was basically just a background or a drawing. Maybe it’s like a bookshelf full of western books in a house studio or something.
This is what I was expecting. For those who aren’t interested, the amount of information is just scenery, isn’t it?
Yoshida For young girls, most of the authors of the books here are people they don’t know. It’s just a line of unknown books by unknown people. When they look at this area, they don’t feel any interest in the names of Jimpachi Nezu, Yoshio Harada, or Ryotaro Sugi (laughs).
(laughs) Ever since I was a child, I’ve been aiming for things that people don’t collect.
I know it’s a silly question to ask the owner of this room (laughs), but did you have a collector’s tendency from childhood?
Yoshida Yes, completely. I started collecting super car erasers. My family was not very wealthy, so we were not allowed to buy expensive toys such as Chogokin, but only a few Mikuman. Then, from the eraser culture, I suddenly thought, “I can collect these! I thought. I also started collecting stamps in a subtle way.
Stamps are the gateway to collecting. Mr. Yoshida, when you were young, you liked anime, and you used to buy books about it.
Yoshida Before that, I had been collecting since the days of “Korokoro”. When I was in elementary school, I used to collect Fujiko Fujio’s rare manga. Everyone else had “Doraemon”, so there was no point in me buying it. I was the type of person who would go for the rarer manga, like buying magazine supplements that were not included in the book.
I’m the type of person who goes for the rarer manga.
Yoshida At the time, I was living in Ekoda, and at a local fair, there were supplementary comics for 50 yen.
Yes, there were. In the old days, shonen manga magazines would have thin comics in the appendix, and only those would be sold at fairs.
Yoshida I collected those comics, and also rare Fujiko comics like “Masked Taro”. I started out with a collection of the Korotan paperbacks to get a complete picture of Fujiko’s works, and then went on to collect the ones I didn’t have at …….
That’s totally the behavior of a collector! (laughs) I’ve been doing that since then. What’s interesting about Mr. Yoshida is that after that, he easily graduated from anime.
Yoshida By the time I was in the eighth grade, I had quite a collection.
I thought, “I have to go for things that people don’t collect.
I was going to ask you if you started collecting books for work or if you just liked collecting books.
Yoshida Yes, I’ve been going to used bookstores since I was in elementary school, and when I was in high school, I started going to used disc stores.
So you started going to used bookstores after you became interested in punk?
Yoshida That’s right. That’s just the way it’s been for a long time. That’s when I started this job.
Yoshida You started your career in editing and production, didn’t you?
Yoshida When you were a paperboy, you started out as an errand boy, didn’t you? I would go to pick up manuscripts and deliver materials. I would always stop by for 30 minutes to an hour to buy things.
It was a time when there were many used bookstores and used vinyl record stores.
Yoshida I think those days were great. Even in Ginza, there were used disc shops. Hunter, for example. You could do whatever you wanted in any town.
Buying many copies of the same book because you rely on your memory
Yoshida: One of your characteristics is that you buy multiple copies of the same book.
Yoshida: This is the worst one (pointing to the place where “Kobayashi Ashi’s Diet for Couples” is lined up). When I was working on my collection, I couldn’t find this one at all. So, about 15 years ago, I did an event in Hiroshima, and one of the conditions for me to attend a local event was that I had to go around to book-offs (laughs), so I asked them to give me a ride.
I was so excited that I bought as many as I could.
Yoshida I don’t understand why people buy everything. I don’t understand why people would buy everything, just the ones with and without obi. Also, the Cicciolina book there is the same. There’s a famous bookstore in Shikoku that has a Ferris wheel. Basically, they sell new books, but there is a section for bargain books, and I saw on Twitter that there were a lot of new Cicciolina books there. So I went to Shikoku.
So I went to Shikoku.
Yoshida No, I didn’t buy all of them, but kept a few.
No, I didn’t buy all of them, but kept a few.
Yoshida But because I made a fuss about it on Twitter and on the radio, it disappeared soon after
So everyone ran out to buy it.
Yoshida What’s so bad about the Cicciolina book is that it was published by Sankyo Eiga, a movie company created by Kajiwara Ikki. For some reason, they were involved in Cicciolina’s visit to Japan, and they quietly published the book at that time. I didn’t know about it at the time, but when I was in Okayama with Nori Porsche and others and we were visiting used bookstores, he showed me this book in the erotic book section and said, “Gou-chan, I found something good! I was really jealous of this book, and Mr. Code cried and gave it to me.
That’s a good story! There are a lot of theories about Mr. Rule being a good person, aren’t there?
Yoshida: “Gou-chan looked so disappointed, you know.
Yoshida: I often tell people that I don’t want to get into a certain field or person.
Yoshida I often say that there are books that I should buy even if I have to pay the regular price, books that I would buy if I had to pay half price, and books that I would buy if I had to pay 100 yen.
Yoshida Well, there are some books that I wouldn’t buy even if they were free.
Yoshida Well, yes, there are. If it’s a celebrity’s autobiography, I would want it, but if it’s a program book, I’m not so sure.
But I’m not sure if it’s a book about a TV show. I don’t want to have to buy all of them.
Yoshida But I might need it in a pinch, so I’ll buy it for 100 yen.
Yoshida: Why do you buy so many books, like the book by Kobayashi Asei and the book by Cicciolina that I mentioned earlier?
Yoshida: I guess I get turned on somehow.
Yoshida-san, you don’t make money by reselling books because they are rare, do you?
Yoshida In the first place, there are very few people who understand the rarity of this product (laughs).
(laughs) I hear that you give them to people when you do interviews, but even so, having two copies is enough for me.
Yoshida When I go around used bookstores, I find books that have a nice binding, but are in a genre I’m not interested in. I don’t know much about that field, but it’s something I rarely see in used bookstores. For example, if I find a book of Edogawa Rampo’s in an elaborate box (”
I buy them and give them to people I interview who are interested in that field.
Yoshida Also, I don’t buy a lot of things because I don’t remember what I have.
Yoshida: “Wow, there are all these books.
Yoshida: “Wow, I didn’t know there were books like this! I was so excited to buy it, and the moment I put it in the bookcase, I was like, “What? And then when I put it on the shelf, I’m like, “Oh, I have ……” (laughs). (laughs) That happens a lot.
Do you ever make checklists? Aren’t you that type of person?
Yoshida No, I don’t. I just rely on my memory. I just rely on my memory.
If I hadn’t made a checklist, I would have bought “Tetsuko’s Room 1,” “Tetsuko’s Room 2,” “Tetsuko’s Room 3,” and “Tetsuko’s Room 4” by mistake, wouldn’t I? You don’t have that kind of temperament, do you?
Yoshida No, I don’t. It’s a mess, really.
Surrealism created by the alphabetical order
T ─ Speaking of buying the same book, I find it hard to buy different variations. I had a copy of Shinichi Chiba’s “Sports Training” with a slightly different expression on the cover, and when Takeshi Uechi (a designer) saw it, he was surprised and said, “Gou-chan, you buy all that stuff! I love the story of his surprise. Do you have the original here?
Yoshida I can’t show it right now, it’s gone somewhere. I also have a book by Mr. Koizumi Ohashi with a slightly different cover, but as you can see, I can’t pull it out.
When I went to Book-Off, I thought, “Oh, there’s this book again! I went to Book-Off and was like, “Oh, there’s this book again!” and I picked it up, but it wasn’t exactly what I remembered. Kenny’s book “Skateboarding Angels” had “movie adaptation” on the spine, while others did not. Well, this information is also not important to ordinary people.
Yoshida My favorite book, “To Yoko” by Hiroyuki Nagato, also has a different cover.
Yoshida: But the revised edition is much better.
Yoshida: But the revised edition is more interesting. Because you can see what has been fixed. In the revised version, the exposé in the first edition turns out to be a dream ending, like “I had a dream called …….
Wow, that’s a messy revision! I’d like to have that one. Another famous variation in the used book world is the biography of Sugiyama, the king of loan sharks, “New Evil Alchemy: Money, Money, Money in the World! I guess.
Yoshida That’s around there (where people can enter). It’s probably there, so there are almost all kinds. It’s hard to find that many of them. To be precise, the contents are a little different, and there are about three variations, but they are all the same (laughs).
Yoshida: For you, who calls yourself a professional interviewer, the books in your collection are not just a collection, but also materials for your work.
Yoshida: He says that all collections should be used for work later on. I used to do the same thing with my manga collection. It was like, “Someday I’ll love this.
─ Collectors and book collectors often buy books thinking that they will be useful someday, but then dispose of them saying, “I’ve never found them useful! And then they get rid of them.
Yoshida It’s the other way around. They are totally useful.
Yoshida: Yes, in your case, they are useful, so it’s even more troublesome (laughs). (laughs) Do you have your own rules about how you arrange the books here?
Yoshida Yes, the books are in alphabetical order by the name of the talent.
Do you follow the rules?
Yoshida Even if I do, sometimes I take out a book because I need it for work and don’t put it back, so it becomes more and more chaotic. In the first place, I can’t even put books back in that area (the bookshelf near the entrance).
It’s hard to get a book when you need it, so even if you bought it beforehand, you can’t get it out when you need it.
Yoshida That’s why I moved the bookshelf little by little, and finally found it! But then I find out that I’ve taken it out and put it somewhere else, and I fall down and say, “Huh, ……” (laughs).
Yoshida: In terms of your work genre, do you ever think of categorizing your work as “martial artist,” “actor,” “idol,” or something like that?
Yoshida Well, it’s difficult. When I was living at home, my parents sorted me out somehow, but they don’t know what I’m like. Atsushi Onita is not a celebrity! (laughs).
(laughs) ─ There are people who have multiple attributes. But when I look around the bookshelf like this, I can see that the alphabetical order makes it more interesting.
Yoshida It’s just a big genre of talent books that are arranged by name. In this way, the surrealism of the alphabetical order is created. For example, “Kyary Pamyu Pamyu” is followed by “Caroline Yoko” and then “Carol”.
That’s the best part, isn’t it? The line up of Riko Kuhoru and Chieko Kubozono, and Kaoru Kuroki and Hitomi Kuroki is also very touching.
Talent books as a kind of accumulation of knowledge
─ Like today’s interview, there are often bookshelf projects, aren’t there? I want to see your bookshelf! Like “I want to see your bookshelf! Have you ever received such a request?
Yoshida Yes, I did once for a project for “Hon no Zasshi”. But I’m sorry that I was the only one with a bookshelf that didn’t show any intelligence.
Hahaha. I’m sorry that I’m the only one with a bookshelf that doesn’t show intelligence, but this is a unique collection of talent books, and I think it’s a microcosm of society. Do you have any recommendations for your own bookshelf?
Yoshida I think the Kenichi Takemura section is very interesting. There are quite a few books on the erotic side of Kenichi Takemura’s work.
He has published books on quite a few erotic themes, such as “Sekai Chingyou Mangyou” and “Sekai no Onna wa Ore no Te ni”.
I also like Akiko Kanazawa’s book, “Lodged Stool Removal and Slimming.
Yoshida Surprisingly, I do buy diet books by celebrities. They publish a diet book, but then they rebound and start dieting again.
There are many celebrities who publish psychic books. Some people, like Junji Inagawa and Tetsuro Tanba, make a business out of it, while others, unexpected people, suddenly publish books on this subject.
Yoshida Yes, there are. Yukio Hashi also published a bad one.
Hiki Rie suddenly published a book called “Healing at Shrines.
Yoshida Something probably happened just before the book was published (laughs). (laughs) For example, there was a book by Utae Shoji that is famous only for its title, “Utae’s Happy Kurukuru Shinrei Cafe.
Yoshida I was introduced as a “celebrity book collector” in the very early stages of my career in “Tamori Club” about 20 years ago. At that time, Mr. Tamori asked me, “What kind of book is this ‘Utae’s Happy Kurukuru Shinrei Cafe’? I answered, “I haven’t read every single one of them,” and he got angry (laughs).
(laughs) Haha. It’s a foolish question to ask a used book collector, “Have you read it? is a foolish question.
Yoshida I’m not sure if I’ve read even 10% of the books here. I do read them when I’m assigned an interview.
By the time I die, I want to put everything in the right order.
─ When a book collector’s bookshelf becomes saturated with books, he or she may give away books that have little value or are duplicates of books, thereby shaping up the collection. Do you ever do that?
Yoshida I don’t give away books except to celebrities, business partners, or friends.
I don’t give away books except to celebrities, business partners or friends. If I do, I’ll rent or buy another apartment, or hire someone to organize it for me. Or you can get rid of duplicate books to make up the space. I think there are many ways to do this.
Yoshida I have no intention of getting rid of them. I just want to organize them. I need to hire a part-time worker. There was a TV project once where they were going to empty out a room, put everything in a gymnasium, and have professionals organize it. I thought it would be great, but the first time someone did it, it didn’t get that many viewers, so it was dropped.
That’s a shame.
Yoshida Also, in the days when there was room in the publishing industry, I would ask people to help me with magazine projects. A girl from a girl’s fashion magazine helped me.
What kind of a project is that (laughs)? (laughs) So you’ve never gotten rid of books before?
Yoshida I still regret getting rid of my anime books in the past, so I’m very determined not to throw them away. I gave away a lot of toys and other things to my friends.
I call myself a “professional collector” in imitation of Mr. Go Yoshida (professional interviewer), but I tend to throw things away. There are times when my desire for things suddenly disappears, and I throw them away or sell them all at once. I guess that’s why I was able to run a used bookstore.
Yoshida In my case, I have this idea that if I can’t keep things in this room any longer, I’ll just rent another room. So I’m thinking of renting another place where I can live. A room just for living.
─ Yes, if you just want to go home to sleep, you can rent a cheap apartment. But eventually that room will be overflowing with books.
Yoshida When I first started living on my own, I made a rule not to bring anything into the apartment, and since I only had clothes and a TV, I was able to live happily. But I end up like this, so it’s probably impossible (laughs).
─ Usually, when I write about collectors, I end up saying, “I’m going to die buried in my collection,” but this place (Mr. Yoshida’s study) feels a little different. I wonder if it’s because it’s not a “dead” collection, but an “active” one. What is your own wish for the future? Do you want to move to a bigger place?
Yoshida Well, yes, but it all boils down to the fact that I want to organize my bookshelves properly. I want to put everything in the right order before I die. I want to be able to find the book I’m looking for immediately. I also want to put my magazines in order.
There is meaning in collecting things that take up space.
─ In the past, you were very active in collecting used books, weren’t you? How are you doing these days?
Yoshida I don’t go out as much anymore, partly because I’m too busy, and partly because I can get so much done online. To be honest, I don’t find any bargains even when I try my best to go out.
I wonder if the increase in the number of enthusiasts is driving up the prices.
Yoshida The momentum of wasteful spending hasn’t changed at all, though. Recently, there has been an increase in overseas mail order.
What do you buy through overseas mail order?
Yoshida I’m completely turned on by bootleg T-shirts and the like. I buy official T-shirts, but there are also T-shirts of Japanese wrestling, manga, anime, etc. that are available overseas. There are also hardcore punk T-shirts that would be scary if they were released without permission.
I don’t want to say which bands, but the scary ones.
Yoshida I buy a lot of that stuff. If you buy something, a nice broker will give you a free gift or something.
(At this point, he goes to the back room and brings me some T-shirts.)
Yoshida I’ve just pulled out the ones that caught my eye, but this is a “Love Attack! T-shirt. This is a “Love Attack!” t-shirt, and a “Tanokin Trio 3 Ball Concert” t-shirt. This is a very rare Kenji Sawada T-shirt.
I don’t know what’s so rare about it, but I don’t think I’d understand if you asked me why, so I won’t ask (laughs).
Yoshida I also have a ZZ Top 1976 tour T-shirt.
Yoshida Why do you have such a thing?
Yoshida It was sold at a toy show about 30 years ago at a very low price. Someone who probably didn’t know the value of it put a price of about 500 yen on it.
The shirt was out of place (laughs). By the way, there’s a red jacket on top of the pile of talent goods over here.
Yoshida: It’s a Match and Akina item. It’s something that shouldn’t exist in Japan.
Yoshida It has a badge that says “M & A”, which shouldn’t exist.
This is amazing! Is it purely out of interest that you collect these things?
Yoshida Yes, there are a lot of things that he doesn’t have, and that don’t have any historical data, so I feel obligated to buy them.
So I feel obligated to buy them. -How do you find such rare talent goods? If it’s something you know exists, you can probably find it by searching for it by its name.
Yoshida I don’t do it so much now, but I used to search all over Yahoo! There’s a category called “talent goods”, and I would just go through there looking for lice. When I was crazy, I made a rule that I couldn’t stop bidding on Yahoo!
The 300,000 yen a month rule! That’s really crazy (laughs).
Yoshida I search for “talent books/men” and 99% of the items I find are things I don’t need, but I keep trying to find something I never expected. It’s a pain in the ass.
I’m not in a position to laugh at you because I do something similar in the “record” category.
Yoshida I don’t do that much now, so it’s a little easier. I still search for staff jumpers, but I don’t need them, and only occasionally do I find something like this (Match, Akina, etc.).
I don’t mean to sound like the KonMari method, but the trend in the world is to “throw away what you don’t need.
Yoshida People say that if something doesn’t appeal to you, throw it away.
I see. All the things in this room are things that made Go Yoshida’s heart flutter! This statue of Beat Takeshi’s curry shop (Kitano India Co., Ltd.) would make even me crush, but if you ask me if I want it, I don’t. But if you’re asking me if I want it, I don’t. It’s too big and it’s in the way. And you have Mr. Umemiya at the entrance.
Yoshida No, there’s a point to collecting things that take up space.
Oh, I’m impressed.
Yoshida Yes, the clothes on the mannequins are by any chance the same as the ones on the mannequins.
Yoshida Yes, it’s Yasushi Yokoyama’s costume, which was given to me directly by Kazuya Kimura.
Yoshida “Gou-kun, do you want my father’s clothes? Yoshida: “Gou-kun, do you want my father’s clothes?” He said, “Yes, I do! I answered immediately. Do you want a trophy or something? “Yes, I do!” Do you need any trophies?” “No, no, no, not even trophies!” So he sent me a set. The hat and glasses are real.
It’s amazing. Yassan was a dynamic person, but Ichihachi is also too dynamic. But I think I came to the person who will take the best care of me.
Yoshida As expected, I wanted to decorate it properly, so I bought a mannequin (torso) for the first time in my life and dressed it.
I bought a mannequin (torso) for the first time in my life and put it on. I would like to put them in a museum eventually. Rather than valuable items that everyone recognizes as valuable, they are more like flowers of the times, so if Mr. Yoshida doesn’t collect them, they won’t remain.
Even the best used bookstores, let alone Manita Shobo, can’t match the amount of stuff in Mr. Yoshida’s room, which is filled with various faces from the Japanese entertainment industry. Like Motoko Arai’s and Natsuhiko Kyogoku’s bookshelves, I think it’s time for Mr. Yoshida to start building a huge scale library. Perhaps it is this chaos that suits the universe of “talent books”.
(This series will be updated on the first Friday of every month. The next installment is scheduled for March 4. Please look forward to it!)
Interviewed and written by： Akihito Tomisawa
A self-proclaimed professional collector who continues to study the ecology of people obsessed with collecting. He is a self-proclaimed professional collector. (Sairyusha), "Hitokui Eiga Matsuri (Cannibal Film Festival)" (Tatsumi Publishing), "Mugen no Hondana (Infinite Bookshelf)" (Chikuma Shobo), and "Rekokkoshi no Sengo Shi (Postwar History through Records)" (P-VINE). His latest book is "Yusha to Tank to Monster 1978-2018☆ My 40-year History of Games" (Komakusa Shuppan), which looks back on his own relationship with games.
Photography： Katsumi Murata