American publishing company Viz Media announced earlier today that it has acquired the foreign distribution license for the 2016 edition of New Horizon, an English textbook used in Japanese middle schools. Though anime, manga, and light novels being licensed for release stateside is common, the same cannot be said of a language textbook.
“Here at Viz, our market research team carefully monitors the hottest trends so we can bring our customers the most popular titles from Japan,” company spokesperson William Pearcy told Anime Maru. “Right now nothing is hotter than Elle- I mean New Horizon. As soon as we saw the Twitter numbers, we knew we needed to get it.”
The company confirmed that the Japanese content in the textbook, which is primarily instructions, explanations, and translations of example English passages, will be localized into English. There won’t be a shred of Japanese left after their localization team is done with it.
“Now English speakers can learn English the way Japanese middle schoolers learn English!” Pearcy added.
Some fans have expressed concern over some of the translation and localization decisions, including the localization of Paulo Fernandes’s surname to Fernandez and changing his origin from Brazil to Mexico. Much like any other localized release, fervent comments from both sides are abound.
“What the fuck is Green Middle School? They are distorting the proud name of Midori Middle School; it’s the whole brand!” one angry comment online reads.
“Only weeaboos call it Midori Middle School. The book is licensed in America, so it should be in American!” another comment retorts.
Despite the controversies, many are excited to learn English the authentic Japanese way when New Horizon hits bookshelves this fall.
“You see here, this word in English, ‘table’ means table, translated from Japanese,” Pearcy points out from a sample vocabulary page. “And here is another passage: ‘I put the apple on the table’ and its translation in Japanese which we re-translated into ‘I placed the apple atop the table.”
As of press time, all 500,000 pre-orders of the first printing have sold out.