A CD of President Barack Obama's inaugural speech has sold a half million copies in Japan, leading publishers to flood the market with over a dozen language-learning titles centered on his oratory.
TOKYO — When Utako Sakai was changing the background music in her beauty parlor recently, she did not opt for the classical piano pieces she usually chose. Instead, she picked her favorite CD: “President Obama’s Inaugural Address,” released by Asahi Press, a Japanese publisher of language books. She says the speech lifts her spirits and helps her to learn English all at once.
“All our customers love it,” said Ms. Sakai, who is based in Ayase City, in Kanagawa Prefecture, outside Tokyo.
The speech CD and its accompanying book have been a resounding success, selling 200,000 copies since its release in January. A compilation of President Barack Obama’s speeches has done even better, selling half a million copies since November, solidifying his role as Japan’s English teacher.
Publishers have since flooded the market with over a dozen language-learning titles, including “Speech Training: Learning to Deliver English Speech, Obama Style”; “Learn English Grammar From Obama”; and “Yes, I Can With Obama: 40 Magical English Phrases From Presidential E-mails.”
Asahi Press followed up its inauguration book and CD with a recording of Mr. Obama’s “World Without Nuclear Weapons” speech, also in book and CD form, given in Prague in April.
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