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      By Gary Yang (Taiwan)  文:杨毓群(台湾)  The Memories of Our Youth 租书店:辉煌一时忆青春 The changing times have seen the remaining rental bookstores in Taiwan transform into places for relaxation and gathering. 随着时代变迁,台湾的租书店仅剩不到一成,纷纷转型成休憩聚会的场所。 "Do you like basketball?" Haruko Akagi’s question to Hanamichi Sakuragi in Slam Dunk echoed once again when Takehiko Inoue, the creator of the the wildly popular Japanese sports manga series, announced his intention to work on new content. Back then, everyone was eager to be the first to read the latest comics, even hiding them under their desks or concealing them with textbooks to avoid detection by teachers during classes. The manga craze has given way to the drama series, but back in those days, the rental bookstores were the places to be! The Rise of the Rental Bookstores Rental bookstores started appearing in Taiwan in 1980 and reached their peak in 1990 with the legalisation of copyrights and improvements to printing quality. The arrival of Japanese manga not only diversified Taiwan’s reading culture, but also deeply influenced the popular culture of the time. For example, many girls were nicknamed "Little P" after P-chan, the character who transformed into a piglet in Rumiko Takahashi's manga, Ranma 1/2. Other influential classics included Mitsuru Adachi’s baseball-themed manga series H2 and Akira Toriyama’s masterpiece Dragon Ball. Comics from Hong Kong appeared later on, but the styles of Chinese Hero: Tales of the Blood Sword and The Stormriders were completely different. Nevertheless, it was an exciting time as many of these comics were subsequently adapted into movies or television series. The rental bookstores also thrived on romance novels. Long before online novels became popular, printed romance novels were already a huge hit with many female readers. Due to the fierce competition, 24 - popularnews 140 

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