The Japanese-language version of the latest book in the Harry Potter series, "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child," was released Friday.

Fans lined up in the rain in front of Book Store Kumazawa's Hachioji store in western Tokyo on Thursday evening as they counted down the minutes to the midnight release of the eighth tale in J.K. Rowling's best-selling series, set 19 years after the previous novel, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows."

"I'm curious about what kind of life my favorite characters have had," said a costumed woman in her 30s from Yokohama who had waited in line for seven hours with a friend on a chilly night. "I want to read it soon."

The latest story finds Harry struggling with his work as an employee of the Ministry of Magic while at the same time juggling chores as the father of three children.

According to Sayzansha Publications Ltd., the Japanese publisher of the series, 800,000 copies of the first edition have been printed.