Japanese publisher pulls translation of Abigail Shrier’s anti-trans book

A side by side image of the book cover of Irreversible Damage and a screen shot from an interview that the book's author, Abigail Shrier, did online.

A major publishing house in Japan has cancelled the publication of a translated version of Abigail Shrier’s anti-trans book, after a backlash and a planned protest outside its headquarters. 

The Kadokawa Corporation revealed its decision on Tuesday (5 December) to suspend the publication of the Japanese version of Shrier’s Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, saying the copy was hurtful to the trans community. 

The publisher originally claimed it hoped the translation would inspire readers to “deepen their discussions about gender, through what is happening in Europe and the United States, as well as other matters”, The Japan Times reported. 

However, Kadokawa realised the “title and sales copy ended up causing harm to people directly involved” with the trans community. 

“We sincerely apologise for it,” the company added. 

Irreversible Damage has courted controversy since its initial publication in 2020. The book proliferates debunked anti-trans theories that being transgender is a “contagion”, a “craze” and an “epidemic”. 

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In a notice for the planned release, Kadokawa said the Japanese title of journalist Shrier’s book would translate as “That girl’s become transgender, too: The tragedy of the sex-change craze being contagious through social media.”

The sales copy compared being trans to a “frenzy [that] becomes contagious through social media”, according to The Asahi Shimbun.

On X, formerly Twitter, there was a huge backlash against Kadokawa’s initial promotion of the book. Trans rights advocates planned a protest outside the publisher’s corporate headquarters in Tokyo, a move that has now been cancelled.

After the decision, one social media user wrote that while it was good that the book had been pulled, they worried that “future measures” to prevent similar incidents remain “unclear and unsatisfactory” so couldn’t be sure if Kadokawa’s apology to the trans community was genuine. 

Another account said it was “really important to speak up” against the book. 

Shrier, an opinion writer for The Wall Street Journal took to X to share her displeasure that the “very nice” publisher had caved in.

“By caving to an activist-led campaign against Irreversible Damage, they embolden the forces of censorship,” she wrote. 

“America has much to learn from Japan, but we can teach them how to deal with censorious cry-bullies.”

In 2020, Amazon suspended a paid-for advertising campaign for Irreversible Damage. A year later, the e-commerce giant refused to stop selling the anti-trans book despite complaints from LGBTQ+ members of staff

And retail giant Target came under fire for saying it would remove the widely criticised book from its shelves, only to reverse the decision after a backlash from anti-trans voices

A person holds up a sign reading 'trans rights = human rights' outside an event for anti-trans author Abigail Shrier
Protesters outside an event in Israel where anti-trans author Abigail Shrier was appearing. (Getty)

In May, a trans teen was wrestled to the ground and dragged from a launch event for the book in Israel as people shouted that the young person was “diseased”. Outside the venue, hundreds of protestors held up LGBTQ+ Pride flags, chanted and banged on drums. 

In October, more than 100 University of Virginia students stood outside an event where the author was appearing, chanting and holding up signs in support of the trans community. The chants were so loud that they could be heard from inside the venue, according to one reporter.

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