As pitches for Friday night television drama go, "Unmarried, middle-aged businessman crosses the country for work and talks to himself as he eats alone" does not scream sure-fire hit. Nevertheless, Kodoku No Gurume (The Lonely Gourmet) - a masterpiece of Japan's emerging genre of solitude propaganda - is now into its seventh season.
Kodoku No Gurume does not yet have many imitators on TV. But its central theme - the conscious relishing of isolation - is shared by a deluge of recently published books, several of which have spent months atop the bestseller charts in Japan.
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