Japanese publishing companies are increasingly reprinting books as well as giving free online access to manga on Ukraine and Russia amid heightened interest among readers following Moscow's invasion of the Eastern European country.
But some firms are wary and rather low key in promoting the republished materials out of consideration for the victims, whose numbers continue to grow in the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. "I feel guilty about the sales," a publishing industry official said.
Among the firms is Chuokoron-Shinsha Inc. which reprinted 30,000 copies of "Monogatari: Ukuraina no Rekishi" (Stories of Ukrainian History) by Yuji Kurokawa, former Japanese ambassador to Ukraine.
Since the book was first published in 2002, orders for it have gone up whenever Ukraine attracts international attention such as Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014, Chuokoron-Shinsha said.
Chikumashobo Ltd. reprinted 20,000 copies of "Gendai Roshia no Gunji Senryaku" (Modern Russia's Military Strategy) by Yu Koizumi, a lecturer at the University of Tokyo's Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology.
Koizumi appears frequently on television to answer questions on the Ukraine crisis and interpret Russia's military action.
Kodansha Ltd. has made six chapters of its "Funso Deshitara Hatta Made" (If there's conflict, go to Hatta) series available for free on its webcomic site Comic Days.
The chapters in the series by Motohiro Den involve Ukraine in the story, which follows titular character Yuri Hatta, a "geopolitical risk consultant," who travels the world solving problems.
Publib LLC has also scrambled to reprint copies of guidebook "Ukuraina Fan Bukku" (Ukraine Fan Book), written by Takashi Hirano, Japanese language editor for Ukraine's state-run Ukrinform news agency.
A revised manuscript for the book was submitted to Publib on Feb. 24, the same day that Russia began its invasion of Ukraine.
"Towns that have become battlefields actually have many charms," said Yoshiro Hamazaki, president of Publib. "That is what the book helps to understand."
Another publisher said the "invasion itself is a sad story," expressing hope that the books could "help readers understand the background of the invasion and know about Ukraine."