Sunmark Publishing Rights Highlights
and NEWS Mail--February 2018 Issue

January 1st  is the beginning of a brand-new year, but who decided that? It was Julius Caesar who appointed this day as the first day of the year in 45 B.C., then Pope Gregory XIII later revised it in the 1580s in what we now know as the Gregorian calendar. In Japan, our government officially adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1873.


It’s all about calendar management, which is essentially applying a man-made template over the movement of the Earth relative to the sun and the moon. This is an idea that every culture has had as a way to manage its society. It’s very systematic and scientific.


But we’re fond of the idea of the calendar for emotional reasons too. The idea of the “first day” or the “last day” of a year is exciting. Preparing a new calendar or new diary is a special ritual. Celebrating the special days with family and friends is always fun. Making a list of New Year’s resolutions gives us a sense of hope and a bright future. There is so much to say about this time of the year!


All the best wishes for 2018!

If you have any questions or inquiries about this NEWS Mail, please contact Ms. Shino Kobayashi, Rights Manager (

Topics of the Month

Now we have another million-seller book!

The “Trunk Muscle Reset Diet” That Top Models Have Kept Secret by Kenichi Sakuma has sold more than one million copies in Japan as of the end of 2017. This marks the 8th million-selling book for our company, and following Even the Stiffest People Can Do the Splits by Eiko, which hit the million mark in 2016, now we have had million-selling books two years in a row.


First published in May 2017, Sakuma’s book became a bestselling fitness book in major national chain bookstores and kept up constant sales throughout the year. The sales numbers were about 600,000 by the beginning of December 2017. Then a miracle happened. A popular TV program picked up this book’s concept and made an hour-long documentary

featuring the author as a dieting trainer to a well-known singer and an actress. Following this TV program, sales numbers accelerated enormously. With an amazing reaction from the TV audience, sales went up to a million by the end of 2017.


As in rights sales, now the translation rights have been sold to Taiwan, Korea and China, and the Taiwanese edition will be published soon this year.

Editors of the Month


My motto as an editor is to inform readers about serious topics in a humorous manner.  This is a great influence from my grandfather, who was the owner of a secondhand book shop. He was a unique guy. Whenever I visited him, he offered me some juice poured into a beaker. As a small child, I was very excited about this, using this unfamiliar professional container for drinking my cup of juice. By doing this, I was able to manage numbers at the age of 3! I’m not sure if that was his intention, but through my excitement at using a beaker, I was willing to study numbers. This episode contains the most important essence of my philosophy as an editor.

If the topic is serious, I put some humor into it so that readers will be more interested in it. That gives them a way to study without feeling it’s a duty. Sometimes having fun is more important than being correct.

Outstanding Past Achievements: 

Talking to the Devil – The Majority Rule : by Mitsuro Sato

Hot Titles

Talking to the Devil - The Majority Rule

by Mitsuro Sato

ISBN978-4-7631-3654-1 C0095

574 pages / October 2017 / 1,700 yen (w/o tax)

More impactful than the best-selling book Talking to the God.
An entertaining novel that will change your values.


It’s been three years since Talking to the God was released, selling 200,000 copies. Tired of conventional teachings and ethical rules for success, Mitsuro comes across a chatty devil who asks:


Have good deeds ever led anybody to happiness? The morals that school and your parents have taught you are all wrong. My evil army knows the real way to fulfill all of your desires.


Mitsuro, the impressionable young man was quickly swayed and fell into the hands of the wicked, beginning to doubt all that is “right.” You must know, however, that the ship they rode together wasn’t headed for hell, it was headed for heaven.


This novel will shake your value system to the core, and the devil’s influence will change your life forever.


※ Warning. This story should be handled with care, like an addictive drug.

Those who want to continue living their lives in peace shouldn’t pick it up.

From the table of contents

Chapter 1             Be suspicious of what’s correct

All of your troubles are caused by correctness

New possibilities exist only in unexplained territory

And more


Chapter 2             Angry heroes

Bad people are always smiling

Save yourself from anger by throwing away expectations

And more


Chapter 3             Human suit

Reversing time is scientifically possible

Nothing’s ever made you more unhappy than happiness itself

And more


Chapter 4             Your body’s a temple

The world is a real matrix

Who is really in control of you?

And more


Chapter 5             Amulets that became threatening

There are film clips that show every moment of your life

Before you were somebody, you were nobody

And more


Chapter 6             The apple’s request

Possessions are all an illusion

Letting go of control is also exercising control

And more


Chapter 7             Good day mania

A game that takes life from one extreme to the next

After that, all days become good days

And more


Chapter 8             The beginning of the universe

How do we know whether the world exists or not?

You and the world are exactly the same age

And more


Chapter 9             The world is made up of a war of misunderstandings 

This world is made up of misunderstandings

A demon’s method for misunderstanding

And more


Chapter 10           A good way to decrease your luck

Nobody has the power to improve their luck

A request from the top god of the universe


Chapter 11           You are the universe’s back scratcher

If there’s an afterlife, then why not a parallel universe?

Why do we experience déjà vu and precognitive dreams?

And more


Chapter 12           There is nothing wrong with you

Everybody commits wrongdoing

Doing things the right way creates frustration

And more


Chapter 13           “Impossible” is an excuse for those who can’t move past what is “right”

Everything is, except for what isn’t

Don’t hold a single “correct” opinion!

And more

From the editor "Kisshie"

It took three years, but after much trial and error, we were able to make a powerful sequel to Talking to the God. The next important conversation you have will be with a demon. If you think that speaking to a demon brings you bad luck, you are very wrong! If you think about it, all people you would refer to as demons, like evil political leaders and crime bosses, always seem to be having fun.


That’s right. Demons are free of troubles because they lack common sense. An editor on our staff said, “I became so immersed in this book that I forgot about the proofreading deadline.” I took it as a first-class praise!


Mitsuro Sato

After graduating from a university in Sapporo, Japan, Mitsuro Sato worked with a listed energy company for 10 years. He began to realize that the only way society can change is by people changing their awareness. This led him to start a blog called Waraeru Supirichuaru (funny spirituality) in 2011. His novel outlook earned him a top spot on various ranking lists, with his blog reaching more than 2,000,000 hits in a month. In 2014, influenced by the support of his readers and peers, he decided to retire from his day job and start a talk show in which he speaks and also does piano performances. His “talk show and piano show” is currently touring nationwide. That same year, he also published his first book, Talking to the God (Wani Books), which became a bestseller, selling over 200,000 copies. He is also the frontman of rock band Son of a Rock, whose major label debut Graviton reached number 24 on the Oricon charts. His main work as an author includes Instructions for Becoming Rich (Shufu-To-Seikatsusha) and The Name is Bashar (VOICE).

Kyoto University’s Deep Thinking Method

by Hiroshi Kawakami

ISBN978-4-7631-3641-1 C0030

203 pages / November 2017 / 1,400 yen (w/o tax)

The Science of Design professor’s method to improve your deep thinking skills


☆ The definitive book on how to think by a current design professor at Kyoto University

☆ Stop pretending you understand. What’s the secret to thorough thinking?

☆ The essence of deep thinking is hidden in one “technique”

☆ Improve your problem-solving ability with “focused thinking”


The concept of this book involves building up your mental stamina to become able to think more thoroughly. Many people aren’t good at thinking logically, or give up too easily without thinking things through. A large number of books on thinking have been published due to a universal societal desire to improve the power of thinking.


But what exactly is “thinking power?” It’s an obscure concept, and it’s difficult to pinpoint what needs to be done in order to improve the way we think. Professor Kawakami points out that the obscurity of “thinking power” is what makes it a difficult technique to improve.


Professor Kawakami does research on “inconveniences” and teaches a science of design class at Kyoto University. He aims to resolve what he calls our “thinking troubles” and help us improve our thinking skills. In this book, he tackles questions such as:

・What is thinking?

・What does “I thought it through” mean?

・How can you improve your ability to think?


“Just as actually running helps you to run faster, you have to run your thoughts in order to improve thinking stamina.” To go along with these words, Kawakami provides numerous hints on how to think deeply, in a thorough, step-by-step style.


So what phenomenon holds the secrets to deep thinking?


After reading this book, you’ll find yourself having more thinking stamina and will experience “focused thinking.” This book has the answers to the mysteries of deep thinking.

From the table of contents

Chapter 0             The essential point of deep thinking

Chapter 1             Why do people who use pencils seem more capable of deep thinking?

Chapter 2             Numbers aren’t needed for clear explanations

Chapter 3             People with pencils have the ability to “trace”

Chapter 4             The courage to do away with “important things”

From the editor "Umechan"

When I heard there was somebody at Kyoto University doing research on “inconveniences,” I quickly sought out Professor Kawakami with a book idea.


I learned that Professor Kawakami’s studies were originally focused on the convenience of AI technology. When he explained that he felt unable to go along with the conventional thinking of an increasingly convenient society after studying beneficial inconveniences, we started drafting a book about the power of thinking.


This is a book that focuses like no other does on what’s really important for thorough deep thinking. Read it to experience truly deep thinking firsthand.




Hiroshi Kawakami

Hiroshi Kawakami is a professor at Kyoto University Design School. He has a doctorate in engineering, and his field is system design.


He was born in Shimane Prefecture in 1964. While a student at the Kyoto University Graduate School of Engineering, he studied artificial intelligence and intelligent information processing, completed his master’s degree, and then worked as an assistant at Okayama University while obtaining his doctorate there.


Upon returning to Kyoto University, a professor said, “This is a generation of beneficial inconveniences.” This jump-started his research into the benefits of inconvenience.


As an accessory to his studies, he developed a prime numbers ruler (only prime numbers are shown on the ruler). The peculiar device became very popular, and over 30,000 of them were sold at Kyoto University alone.


In a generation where everything is automated and growing more and more convenient, Kawakami is searching for a way to resolve the adverse effects of convenience with his new system design approach.


His other authored works include Design That Stems from Inconvenience (Kagakudojin) and If You Feel Stuck, How About Incorporating Inconveniences? The Concept of Beneficial Inconveniences (Impress).