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Obama Speech Textbooks Are a Hit in Japan

Barack Obama's speech audience just got even larger. An English textbook, "The Speeches of Barack Obama," has sold more than 400,000 copies in two months, which is apparently a big hit for Japan where very few novels sell more than a million copies a year.

According to the book's publisher, presidents and presidential candidates "are excellent as listening tools to learn English, because their contents are good and their words are easy to catch." Words and phrases like "yes, we can," "change," and "hope" are simple and short enough that non-English speakers can memorize them easily.

The 95-page paperback has topped the bestseller list on Amazon Japan and includes Obama's speeches in English from the 2004 Democratic National Convention and the Democratic Party primaries with Japanese translations. The publisher claims he's received postcards from readers who heard the speeches, and said they were so moved they cried even though they aren't English speakers. Do you think his speeches are textbook and cry worthy?


Join The Conversation
KadBunny KadBunny 8 years
Agreed; I think it's more of a language learning tool. Someone just came up with the wonderful idea of coupling it with Obama. Japan loves him. :) At least I hope that was the purpose. As much as I love the man it is ridiculous how people think of ways to make money out of him. Example: today my mom wanted to grab a copy of the LA Times but guess what--it was sold out everywhere. Not a surprise but one of the guys on the stands said a lady came and grabbed twenty copies. I bet they're now on eBay for 50 bucks or something.
Frank-y-Ava Frank-y-Ava 8 years
I don't see a book on Obama speeches excessive paraphernalia. I think it's very educational to dissect them.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
That's fascinating. I do think it would be appropriate to study his speeches as part of learning English (and by default some of American culture), since those speeches did help to move a nation, and therefore there must be something to be learned about our current culture's hopes, ideals, and sensitivities from studying them. It's not about idolizing Obama. It's about recognizing the historical ramifications of his election and studying them, the same way we might study the letters of important writers and such.
Jazz-Z Jazz-Z 8 years
Also, sorry I guess I'm illiterate today.
Jazz-Z Jazz-Z 8 years
Well he already freezing salaries of White House Aides and requiring all staff attend an ethics briefing, so I wouldn't exactly say he is sitting around doing nothing. But in response to this thread ~ why should we be put in a position to judge what touches people's hearts? It's none of our business. by the way Stephley you are in top form as usual. :rotfl:
hausfrau hausfrau 8 years
Steph - I read the other day that his Crysler 300 is for sale on eBay, so he's already started! That man is a great speaker, I just hope after 4 years we're not looking back and saying it was all empty rhetoric.
bellaressa bellaressa 8 years
why didn't I think of this?
stephley stephley 8 years
Maybe he should try offering all his used stuff on eBay, maybe it'll save the economy.
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
I think the Obama merchandise is getting a little out of hand.
genesisrocks genesisrocks 8 years
stephley stephley 8 years
If they really want something to cry about, we should send them Bushisms.
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