As the largest online catalog of published Japanese content in the world, Japan Book Bank (JBB) is the best and easiest way for publishers and copyright agents to discover new Japanese books and authors.

With an easy-to-use interface, JBB showcases thousands of Japanese titles in a variety of genres from more than 140 publishers, all of which are available for translation and screen adaptations. And the tool allows users to easily and directly connect with licensors.

PW caught up with Yoshiaki Hamza Yoshino of Japan Book Publishers Association to discuss JBB; how it’s helping to connect writers, publishers, and readers globally; what's the future holds, and a whole lot more.

What is Japan Book Bank and what do you most want readers to know about it?

Japan Book Bank is the one-and-only official online tool for introducing Japanese publishing content to the global publishing market. You can find here more than 3,600 titles from over 140 Japanese Publishers. JBB covers a wide range of publishing genres, with works ranging from fiction, literature, children's books, entertainment, hobbies, practical books, and comics to natural and social science, language learning books, and nonfiction.

We like to encourage business users who want to know what kind of books Japan is currently introducing to the overseas publishing market and what kind of interesting books are being introduced by Japanese publishers. The information and titles being presented in JBB are always fresh and hot!

How does Japan Book Bank help connect writers, publishers, and readers globally?

The service mainly targets publishers and copyright agents. In addition, JBB joined the Frankfurt Books Fair as a main exhibitor in the Japan Collective Stand. Currently, the exhibition at the Frankfurt Book Fair is a major promotional activity. We also collaborate with the international news website Publishers Weekly and introduce books and news about the Japanese publishing market in its newsletter read by subscribers worldwide.

Beyond that, we hope that JBB will be widely used by Japanese and international publishers and agents as they make use of this tool. In addition, we have also been active in introducing JBB at other business events at the foreign embassies in Japan. We have introduced at the embassy of Canada and France and Sweden.

Can you share a few success stories from Japan Book Bank?

In principle, JBB is for matching and connection. Further business negotiations are conducted directly between publishers. However, just from the numbers we are aware of, 60 deals have already been achieved in the year and a half since the service was launched.

Also, reactions from international users indicate that even if they are not familiar with Japanese publishers, they can find content on the site and contact them directly, as JBB allows them to check bibliographic information in English. We have received interest in a wide range of works outside the popular Japanese comic genres.

Who do you feel would benefit most from accessing and registering with JBB?

Those who are already associated with Japanese publishers can explore new genres through JBB. And, of course, we would also like to encourage foreign publishers who have had little exposure to Japanese publishers and Japanese publications to use JBB in order to discover new titles. JBB enables all kind of publishing rights traders to discover the fresh and hot titles and directly message the rights contact.

How does JBB help demystify and facilitate the process of securing book rights to international properties?

JBB has a provision that allows only publishers and agents who manage the copyright of a work to register. Only rights managers are allowed to upload titles on JBB. Consequently, for each title introduce in JBB, a contact person who is responsible for managing the rights sales is registered. So, users outside Japan can safely contact the publisher or agent who manages the rights to each title.

What are your hopes for JBB going forward?

For overseas traders, we would like JBB to be used as a tool where they can check all the current updated Japanese publishing titles by visiting JBB first. Also, we hope that JBB will become a tool to learn about the current Japanese publishing market by featuring Japanese industrial updates and picking up Japanese writers and so on. For Japanese publishers, we hope that it will be used as a first-step tool to introduce their products abroad.

Eventually we hope JBB will be an essential platform to search and discover the great Japanese publications waiting to be uncovered.