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To the relief of more than 500,000 Japanese fans who have been eagerly awaiting its release, the Japanese translation of the second volume of the best-selling “Harry Potter” book series will hit bookstores nationwide later this week.

The Japanese translation of “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” written by British author J.K. Rowling, follows “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” which has sold more than 800,000 copies in Japan since going on sale late last year.

More than 500,000 reservations have been made for the second volume, according to Tokyo publisher Say-zan-sha Publications Ltd.

The “Harry Potter” series, which is expected to end with the seventh volume, is about a thin, unhappy boy who is bullied by his foster parents and their son.

On his 11th birthday, however, Harry learns that he is the orphaned son of two powerful wizards. Harry also discovers that he has magical powers and eventually confronts the story’s villains with his friends at the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry.

In the second book, Harry looks into a series of mysterious incidents, such as students being turned to stone at the school.

The fourth volume of the original English series, “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” was published recently.

The “Harry Potter” books have been translated into 35 languages and have sold more than 30 million copies worldwide. The title of the third volume is “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.”

In Britain and the United States, children and parents have flocked to bookstores when the latest “Harry Potter” book hit the shelves.

Cashing in on the series’s overwhelming popularity, projects are in the works to make a “Harry Potter” movie and video game.

The movie is to be directed by Chris Columbus, known for his popular family films, such as “Home Alone” and “Mrs. Doubtfire.” It is scheduled to be released in the United States in November next year.

In Japan, bookstores will launch “Harry Potter” campaigns with the start of sales of the second volume.

Fan letters sent to Say-zan-sha say the books have made both children and adults enjoy reading, with some adding that all family members read the books in turn.

A Say-zan-sha official estimated that the popularity of the series derives from the excitement the books bring to readers as well as their ability to make people enjoy reading.

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