“Red Bean Words,” Popular with Retired Japanese Restudying English, To Be Reissued

“Red Bean Words,” Popular with Retired Japanese Restudying English, To Be Reissued
Yomiuri Shimbun: 「赤尾の豆単」復刊、英語学び直し層に人気, January 29, 2011

赤尾の豆単5訂版と9訂版 5th and 9th Editions of Fundamental English Words and Phrases
The 5th edition of Akao no Mametan, so popular it will be reprinted, alongside the current 9th edition. Photo by Takehiko Suzuki.

Fundamental English Words and Phrases, affectionately known as Akao no Mametan (Red Bean Words) [the author was named Yoshio Akao, but akamame means “red bean” and tango means “word”], is used by half of all students preparing for university entrance exams, and its 5th edition, first published in 1966, is making such a comeback that Obunsha will reissue it.

“Those who were junior high and high school students during the Tokyo Olympics era are retiring, and it seems they are reassembling their old textbooks and returning to their studies,” the company said.

Mametan was assembled and published in 1960 by company founder Yoshio Akao [who also helped establish the national English exam in 1957]. Its original name was Fundamental English Words, and it is long-time bestseller that has sold over 17,000,000 copies and is currently on its 9th edition. The 5th edition used revolutionary computer analysis to select 7800 words which commonly appear on the entrance exam, and the most important among them were printed in red for emphasis. 300,000 copies were sold each year until it was replaced by a new edition in 1971.





(2011年1月29日14時57分 読売新聞)

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