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Thirty years of Kyoto Journal 京都ジャーナル30年。


"...a diversity of thought-provoking real-world

inside views from all across Asia"


Kyoto Journal is more than just a cultural magazine. And contrary to what the name might have you believe, it goes far beyond the boundaries of the ancient former capital.

As the longest independently run English journal based in Japan, it is a like a literary lighthouse, a worldly watchtower that scans the realms of Asia for intelligent stories from the heart, whose foundation is rooted on a spiritual and cultural keystone of the Eastern Hemisphere, Kyoto.

In a nutshell, Kyoto Journal is a "community that transcends place, while respecting and celebrating regional and local identity." This stance, along with strong story telling, quality journalism, impressive design and decades of effort, has gained them independent press awards (including the Utne Reader and Pushcart Prize) and public recognition from Japan's Cultural Affair Agency (The 2013 Commissioner's Award, awarded to KJ founder John Einarsen) — not to mention the respect of independent artists and curiosity of first-time readers.

KJ's Managing Editor, Ken Rodgers, was more than happy to provide us with a few words of reflection on their 30 years of journal-ing.


"Looking back over the 30 years since we started KJ, what stands out most would have to be the generosity in support from our contributors (and staff!). KJ is all-volunteer, so no one gets paid for anything, but that has not discouraged excellent and even well-known writers, artists, and photographers from sending us their work. What they want to communicate comes from the heart, and we do our best to present their inspirations as effectively as possible."

"We’re also conscious of being a venue for less experienced writers to gain exposure (we enjoy working with them to provide editing guidance) and to print excerpts from works in progress that may help lead to full-scale publication. We enjoy finding connections and resonances between submissions within particular issues, and also develop that aspect in special issues on widely divergent themes."

"By going into depth on individual topics we try to provide an antidote to the sensational and superficial reporting on the East that’s seen in a lot of mainstream news; meanwhile through our non-themed issues we try to present a diversity of thought-provoking real-world inside views from all across Asia."

"As for OVERSTAND, Kaz and Corey have contributed valuable material that has enriched the mix; our interests and attitudes clearly coincide.


-Ken Rodgers, Managing Editor of Kyoto Journal

Ken was also gracious enough to present us with a few personal choices.

Here is a list of some of the most memorable issues in recent years, in no particular order.

In 2013 — as if their printed material wasn't uncategorizable already — they decided to become an exclusively digital publication and took everything online. This transition was made just after their official registration as an NPO. Their decision to evolve and accommodate newer generations while staying true to quality symbolizes the times we are in and speaks of a different quality; the quality that Kyoto Journal sees in the stars of their stories and contributors — the quality to endure, overcome and shine. KJ aims to be a solution to media stereotypes and while they have no agenda, they do have principles.

The line up of contributors this more-than-magazine entity humbly possesses includes big names as well as up-and-coming artists. They introduce work from talented and dedicated people via a multitude of formats, ranging from essays and interviews to poetry and photography. Their topics, age-less, their methods, agent-less.

In a world such as, but not limited to, the literary publishing industry, where enduring a system of norms that borderlines feudal is nearly seen as a virtue, it is no wonder that artists and writers are often fine with repeating history and being irrelevant. What seems like an act of conservation and sustainable business, can actually hold the times back.

Going with tradition is honorable, going with the times shows adaptability, but being ahead of the times takes balls and foresight and is what fosters evolution and creates new genres. As a platform with both the ability to excel at, and instill, all three, Kyoto Journal is like a hub of the times.

Visit here to check out their official site. Their new issue centers around interdependent ecologies of crafts/artisanship (mostly) in Kyoto. It will be coming out in mid October in print!

Stay up to date with the KJ Face Book page for new and inspiring material!

Don't forget to check out these KJ select corners as well:

・Renewal - Traditional culture embraced and revitalized by new generations.

・Heartwork - Transformative and ingenious local responses to pressing problems.

・Encounters - Illuminating experiences and fresh insights, drawn from life in Asia.






言うなれば、京都ジャーナルとは「地方並びにローカル意識を称賛し敬意を示しつつも、場所に限定されることのないある種のコミュニティー」とでも言えよう。強くもしなやかな物語性、良質のジャーナリズム、印象的なデザイン性とを併せ持ったスタンスと、数十年間にわたる努力とが世間に認められ、これまでにインディペンデント報道・出版機関向けの賞をいくつか受賞し(Utne Reader賞やPushcart賞など)、日本の文化庁にも評価されている(創立者の一人、ジョン・アイナーセン氏が2013年度の文化庁長官表彰を受けた)。言うまでもなく、芸術家・表現者からのリスペクトはもちろんのこと、初めて読む人の好奇心をも獲得している。


















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