Author holds book-signing despite bomb threats

A South Korean author who lived in Japan held a book-signing June 11 in Shinjuku, Tokyo, after it had previously been canceled due to a bomb threat.

Yu Miri, who won the prestigious Akutagawa Prize in February for her novel “Kazoku (Family) Cinema,” signed autographs for about 200 fans at the Japan Publishing Club Hall, under the protection of 24 police officers and security guards. Soon after plans for the event were made public a call was reported to the building where the signing was due to take place threatening violent action.

Admission to the event was limited to selected participants who had applied by mail. Everyone was checked with metal detectors at the entrance. “What I fear most is losing the freedom of speech by self imposition,” Yu said. She has begun to speak out politically after the original event, planned for February, was canceled, she said.

Signing events at bookstores in Tokyo and Yokohama were canceled after a self-proclaimed rightist phoned in bomb threats. The motives were unclear. Yu’s works are not overtly political and her Korean background is not a prominent feature of her works.