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20th anniversary party of 'Harry Potter' Japanese translations held in Tokyo Bay

Yuko Matsuoka, left, president of the publisher which has released the Japanese versions of "Harry Potter," and TV star Harry Sugiyama are seen at a talk show during a party to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the series' publication in Japanese, on a ship cruising Tokyo Bay on Oct. 26, 2019. (Mainichi/Yuki Ogawa)

TOKYO -- A party commemorating the 20th anniversary of the publication of the first installment of "Harry Potter" in Japanese was held on a ship cruising Tokyo Bay on Oct. 26.

The party was organized by Say-zan-sha Publications Ltd., which released the Japanese versions of the globally popular series. With Halloween approaching, about 250 fans and those involved in the series' publication attended the party in costume, with some wearing robes in the style of those Harry Potter wears in the movies.

The first book was released in Britain, where its author J.K. Rowling is from, in 1997. In Japan, the first Japanese edition was translated by the publisher's president, Yuko Matsuoka, 76, and released in December 1999. In total over 29 million books relating to the series, including pocket-size editions, have been published in Japanese.

Speaking at a talk show event at the party, Matsuoka said, "Although 20 years have passed we can still be fascinated by the story. I hope people will read them over again."

A new edition of the seven books in Japanese, with illustrations by painter Miho Satake, will be published starting December. Matsuoka said, "We revised the translation to make it more fluent. As they have become easier to read, people can get much more absorbed in the story."

(Japanese original by Yuki Ogawa, Lifestyle and Medical News Department)

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