TOKYO, Oct. 12 (UPI) -- The speeches of U.S. President Barack Obama have become the favorite way of Japanese students to learn the English language, sales figures show.
Audio CDs of his January 20, 2009, inaugural address have sold 200,000 copies since its release in Japan, while a compilation of Obama's speeches has sold even better at 500,000 copies, turning the president into Japan's most popular teacher of the English language, The New York Times reported Monday.
The Times said the CDs, released by Asahi Press, a Japanese publisher of language books, are leading a host of Obama-themed language learning products, including such titles as "Speech Training: Learning to Deliver English Speech, Obama Style"; "Learn English Grammar From Obama"; and "Yes, I Can With Obama: 40 Magical English Phrases From Presidential E-mails."
Publishers are tapping into a lucrative Japanese foreign-language learning market valued by some at $8.7 billion, and students say Obama is a good teacher because his English pronunciation is easy to understand.
"He pronounces words clearly and speaks at a relatively slow clip," Professor Tadaharu Nikaido, a communication specialist, told the newspaper. "Movies tend to be the most difficult for Japanese, especially when actors mumble their words."