It’s no secret that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover–but anyone who says they never do is probably a liar (or at least prone to exaggeration). After all, if you’re not a fan of fantasy, a Dragonlance cover illustration should be all you need to know to stay away. By the same turn, if you’re looking for some Japanese fiction, grabbing a book with a sumo wrestler on the cover seems like a safe option.

Though that doesn’t make the cover any less absurd if it’s actually a science fiction novel, though, as these Japanese Twitter users discovered!

Nihon Chinbotsu, titled Japan Sinks in English, was a Jerry Bruckheimer disaster film in novel form, although it was released a few decades before the producer became a household name. The book, which has spawned a sequel, TV show, film, and manga, is literally about Japan sinking completely into the ocean after a series of devastating earthquakes and the flight of people from the island nation. Authored by Sakyo Komatsu, the novel garnered acclaim world-wide thanks to its translations in the 1970s.

Of course, one of the problems with a book with such a large scope is encapsulating it in a single, attention-grabbing cover. While we might have gone with something like the tip of Mt. Fuji sticking up out of the ocean, the publisher of the French translation went with something altogether more…baffling. Take a look for yourself.

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The photo above was tweeted by Mari Yamazaki, the manga artist responsible for the hit Thermae Romae, who wrote only: “Sakyo Komatsu’s Japan Sinks, French edition.” And, yep, that’s a sumo wrestler seemingly standing on a giant globe with a red sun low in the sky and shrouded in clouds. If you’re confused, don’t worry, you’re not alone!

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Yamazaki followed up her tweet with a bit of speculation.

“I bet more than a few readers thought the sinking was this sumo wrestler’s doing upon seeing this cover.”

Well, now that you mention it…

She then sent out another tweet with a slightly more zoomed-in photo.

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She also added some information about the enigmatic cover. “This is for anyone who wants a really good look at the cover. ‘Illustartion de Machida, 1916.D.R.’ is all that’s written here.”

But that’s just the beginning of the speculation!

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Another Twitter user weighed in, suggesting:

“You just know there were some people who thought that the sumo wrestler was KOMATSU Sakyo.”

We imagine there were a few people who thought that…but it’s a forgivable mistake! That cover makes as much sense as having a pig as the mascot of a pork restaurant.

Fortunately, another Twitter user added some helpful information about the original illustration.

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According to @hkazano:

“This poster was used as a poster for Osaka Shosen [a Japanese shipping company that later became Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd.] in 1931.”

Finally, Mari chimes back in with a bit more information on just who the mysterious giant sumo wrestler is.

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According to her tweet, the sumo wrestler on the cover is the wrestler in the photo above.

“The cover I tweeted just a bit ago wasn’t Komatsu Sakyo or Professor Tadokoro [the protagonist of Japan Sinks], but the sumo wrestler Tachiyama.”

It kind of makes you wonder how Tachiyama would have felt about being the face of the ultimate destruction of Japan…

Of course, bizarre promotional images cut both ways, as we learned with the release of Birdman in Japan. Either way, this is a good reminder not to judge a book by its cover, at least most of the time.

Source: Togech
Image: Twitter (@themari)