Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Supermarket: A Novel” as Want to Read:
Supermarket: A Novel
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Supermarket: A Novel

3.43  ·  Rating Details  ·  174 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
A modern classic of literature in Japan, Supermarket is a novel of the human drama surrounding the management of a supermarket chain at a time when the phenomenon of the supermarket, imported postwar from the US, was just taking hold in Japan.

When Kojima, an elite banker resigns his job to help a cousin manage Ishiei, a supermarket in one of Japan's provincial cities, a ho
...more
ebook, 336 pages
Published February 3rd 2009 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published 1984)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Supermarket, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Supermarket

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 623)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Eric
Feb 19, 2009 Eric rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2009
I'm aware of salaryman manga (and enjoy it immensely), but I've never encountered a salaryman novel until now. In Japan, the genre is called business fiction, and without a doubt, it is the most un-American thing I've ever read. Shosetsu Supamaketto is super amazing.

Margaret
I think I found this book - a translated Japanese novel - when it was mentioned in a Goodreads e-mail, so "the system" works; I never would have found it otherwise. The plot follows the story of a young-ish executive in Japan who moves from working for a bank to an executive job with a small but growing supermarket chain. What I loved about this book was:

The fact that it is a Japanese novel and not a book about Japan written by a Westerner for a largely Western audience. Not that there's a thing
...more
Darya
Jan 02, 2015 Darya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading this book was a unique experience. The main conflict of the novel deals with the success of a supermarket chain, i.e. will it or won't it be profitable... And even though I don't care much about supermarkets and have limited interest in the day to day operations of a medium size business, I could not put this book down, primarily because you can really feel the passion of the characters, especially Kojima, the protagonist, about helping the business succeed, one small Improvement at a ti ...more
Mike Smitka
Sep 13, 2010 Mike Smitka added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in modern japan; people interested in chain stores / business
Recommended to Mike by: no one -- I looked for this, having read other items by this author
I've ordered the translation -- I just finished reading it in Japanese, where it was initially serialized and then came out in two volumes, which might explain some of the disjointedness that a reviewer below noted. I've read two other Azuchi novels (one of which is available in English translation as Shoshaman) as well as several other "business novels." This is part of that genre, which tends to be heavy on business and light on characterization, though the character building is in the context ...more
Alexander
While it's technically accurate to call this a novel, it reads like a business manual with characters thrown in just to give a name to each employee position. With that said, it's understandable that the poorest parts of the novel are the weak attempts at developing characters outside of the workplace, for example a clumsy attempt a romantic relationship that mercifully lasts only a few pages. The main character is an absolute saint, which can be a bit obnoxious also.

What makes Supermarket worth
...more
Ana Silva Rosa
Feb 01, 2016 Ana Silva Rosa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
It took me so long to finish this book because I kept losing my focus. There's too many characters, and it was hard for me to keep track of them all. I didn't like the main character all that much- and the plot seemed forced. This is a business book, an attempt at something lighter which did not work for me. Should I mention how uncomfortable I was due to the sexist mentality of the men portrayed in this book? I tried not to let it get to me since It's a realistic portrayal after all, but still. ...more
Kalyn
Dec 08, 2009 Kalyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a Japanese novel about a banker who takes a new position in his cousin's supermarket chain. The viewpoint is strictly Japanese and sometimes seemed strange (such as the obsession with work, loyalty, the cultural differences) and there isn't much of a personal side to the characters. However, if you can get involved in the business workings, then the novel becomes very interesting. How the employees relate to one another, who is hiding what from whom, whether the company can survive one t ...more
Erin
Apr 18, 2009 Erin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you are intrigued in how a supermarket is developed and grown, this may be the book for you. The main character, Kojima, leaves his life as a successful banker to involve himself in the development of a chain of supermarkets. His different perspective and implementation of various strategies propels the market into success as he also deals with the sabotage, old ideas and corruption of those who are already involved in the Ishiei supermarkets.

This book seemed like a fabulous read for me when
...more
the gift
just read an article on the business novel in japan: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-3512... and decided i want to reread this. i wonder how it compares to those business/institution books from the '60s or '70s in the west- i was too young for them at the peak, but certainly remember the parody disaster comedy Airplane! so here is a book to reread next year...
L
Jun 22, 2011 L rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Can't believe I didn't write a review at the time, when it was fresh. Wish I had. I loved this book! Read it.
Ben
Feb 13, 2015 Ben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although not intended to be readily accessible to Westerners, Supermarket offers a great introduction to the internal culture of how the Japanese do business. Decisions to mark down blemished produce, investigate inventory shrinkage, and cope with advertising misprints are embellished with the same suspense and gravitas as the vast conspiracies at the center of most Western corporate thrillers. The book is certainly not forward-thinking about women and gays in the workplace or society. But then, ...more
Lucy Coe
Sep 12, 2015 Lucy Coe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, favorites
This is a very interesting read. I wasn't sure what to expect. I first started reading and thought....so where's the story again? I kept coming back for more because I wanted to desperately understand what the heck there was to come back to. The brilliance of this novel is that it's right there in front of you. We start of first with a supermarket that seems to be doing very well, employees that seem almost unrealistic in their upbeat optimism and the successful recruitment of a very productive ...more
Opal
Apr 26, 2012 Opal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Supermarket is a surpisingly fascinating look into the world of, what else, supermarkets. The author goes in depth into the ins-and-outs of what goes on into the business of a supermarket chain. It takes place during the early 1970′s before supermarkets really takes off in the food industry.

I never knew supermarkets could be so interesting! I was entranced by the world of fresh produce and dismayed by the embezzling ways of the employees! I was completely caught up in the schemes of the manageme
...more
Xarah
Interesting and very different. I had never realized there was a business fiction genre. Reading this novel, I was able to get a glimpse into the working of a supermarket when they were just beginning to emerge and rise in Japan. One thing that kept striking my attention was how relevant some of actions, advice, and incidents are today and across businesses. I've seen, and worked with, those people who are either really for the company they work for or really against. I've seen employees take ad ...more
Sophia
Jan 27, 2013 Sophia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japan, business, 2013
Satoshi Azuchi's 1981 classic Supermarket is an engrossing representative of the Japanese “business novel” genre. Kojima leaves a safe, cushy job at a large bank for a position in his cousins’ supermarket business, Ishiei Stores, with the hopes of improving and building up a smaller company in the burgeoning supermarket industry in 1970s Japan. While this genre might seem strange to Americans, the workplace is one of the places where people spend most of their time and efforts. As such, it offer ...more
Jennifer
I can see why this is a modern classic of Japanese literature. I do wonder if the idealism (Japan can adapt American models of consumerism to fit Japanese society!) or the idealness of the protagonist (inspiring supermarket workers to increase efficiency and quality of service while being able to hold the big picture of business growth) are a bit exaggerated. But in a time of economic woes and soaring gas prices, maybe the optimism is what readers needed. I mean, the 70s in Japan kind of sounds ...more
Mark
Jan 10, 2016 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Who knew a novel about a supermarket chain in late 60s, early 70s Japan could be so engrossing and compelling.
Irish
Jan 09, 2015 Irish rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting to read about specific details in managing a supermarket. But don't like the gay love story
S.J. Pajonas
Jul 19, 2010 S.J. Pajonas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
finished this one just before the birth of my second baby! :) i really enjoyed it even though the subject matter was so foreign to me. i know NOTHING of running a supermarket but now i have a pretty good idea of what it was like to start the supermarket revolution in japan in the late 60s. it helped that the plot was moved forward by interesting characters. i was just as into the supermarket details as i was in their lives. maybe i loved it even more than most because i'm a total japanophile but ...more
Anie
This book was not at all what I expected, and in the best possible way. When you decide to read a book about supermarket managers/directors, you don't necessarily expect a lot. And yet---this was a really good read. There's some great insight into human character, and I couldn't help but root for and love the characters involved. Very much worth the time.

It's also worth noting that the translation is very, very fluid; this isn't a stiff, unnatural translation out of the Japanese. The prose is ju
...more
Meredith
Oct 29, 2009 Meredith rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up because I used to work in a supermarket and still think of it fondly. If you don't have any interest in how a supermarket works (which I think is most people) this is perhaps not the book for you. Apparently it was a bestseller in Japan and I was expecting it to have more of literary heft. But as I was reading it, I realized I was flying through it and it was kind of like a Japanese version of John Grisham, about supermarkets instead of the law. Hmm.
Cheryl
Oct 08, 2014 Cheryl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adultlit
I xan see why this was an important work in 80s Japan--it says a lot about the business culture of the 60s and 70s-- kind of the Mad Men of it's time. But the writing "tells" rather than "shows," which wears thin after a few chapters. Worth reading, or worth dipping into for as long as you can tolerate, simply because it is a window into Japanese culture beyond the anime. But don't expect a barrel of laughs or gripping excitement or winsome fantasy.
Miki Habryn
This is an interesting read, particularly if taken as cultural gospel. The story is generally enjoyable (although the mid-book resolution is frustratingly uncomplicated), and the data whore inside me loved the discussion of supermarket mechanics, but the characterization was somewhat shallow (perhaps that's typical for the genre?), and, as far as actual plot quality goes, it was a little limp.
Diane
This novel was written in 1985, set in 1969 Japan and recently translated into English. There is definitely a reflection of a simpler time and a rather endearing naivite, but overall it reads like a TV sitcom/drama set in a supermarket. I enjoyed the Japanese culture, the look at post war retail business in Japan. Apparently it remains a favorite popular novel in Japan.
L
Apr 11, 2011 L rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Who would have though I'd be one to read something from the genre of "business novel"? Who would have thought there even was such a genre? Apparently there is and this is a delightful example of it (whether representative or not, I couldn't say). Azuchi has give us a delightful romp through the fledgling supermarket industry in Japan in the late 60's/early 70's.
Emily
Jan 02, 2010 Emily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult
I enjoyed this book, but I don't think it will become one of my favorites. I'd recommend it, yet even a few days after finishing it the character don't stick in my mind. It was fun reading about Japan again! (I'm not going to do a plot summary, just read the GoodReads newsletter if you want to know more about it.)
Celeste
Jun 07, 2013 Celeste rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, japan, 1900s
This turned out to be a really absorbing read. I couldn't put it down. And, can someone make this into a film please? I can visualize all the early 70s fashion, the technicolor produce, the drama of businessmen crying...oh my god. It would be SO GOOD. Supermarket! "Let's do it!"
Tim
Dec 17, 2010 Tim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just okay. It is a Japanese novel and translated into English I think it loses a sense of depth and nuance - it reads more like a report of what occured rather than a story. Something is "Lost In Translation", as it were. The title is not misleading, it is indeed about Supermarkets.
Dara
Dec 10, 2009 Dara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel eludes summary. It is technically a mystery about nefarious goings on in a small Japanese supermarket chain. But really it is about loyalty, status, family, the meaning of work, and the impact of the endless march of modernization on all these things.
Art
A novel about internal management conflicts at a Japanese supermarket in the 1960's. It's much, much better than that sounds. High drama and emotion, lots of well-crafted intrigue and tension. A fine accomplishment and inspiring to read.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20 21 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Isle of Dreams
  • Ashes
  • Remote Control
  • Wayfarer
  • Woman on the Other Shore
  • On Parole
  • Floating Clouds
  • Shame in the Blood
  • Scandal
  • The Lake
  • Sayonara, Gangsters
  • The Sleeping Dragon
  • The River Ki
  • Looking for the Lost: Journeys Through a Vanishing Japan
  • Strangers
  • Kinshu: Autumn Brocade
  • A Cat, a Man, and Two Women
  • Moju: The Blind Beast
Satoshi Azuchi (1937-) was born in Tokyo. After graduating the University of Tokyo, he entered the Sumitomo Corporation, which is one of the largest trading companies in Japan. Then, he went on loan to the Summit chain of supermarkets, serving as president, chairman, and supreme advisor. While working as chairman of All Japan Supermarket Association, he made his debut as a novelist with Shosetsu R ...more
More about Satoshi Azuchi...

Share This Book



No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »