President-elect Barack Obama’s speeches are proving a best-seller in Japan — as an aid to learning English. An English-language textbook, “The Speeches of Barack Obama” has sold more than 400,000 copies in two months, a big hit in a country where few hit novels sell more than a million copies a year.
“Speeches by presidents and presidential candidates are excellent as listening tools to learn English, because their contents are good and their words are easy to catch,” said Yuzo Yamamoto of Asahi Press, which produced the best-selling text book.
“Obama’s is especially so. His speeches are so moving, and he also uses words such as ‘yes, we can,’ ‘change’ and ‘hope’ that even Japanese people can memorize,” he said.