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Monday, October 24, 2005

Kansai English Magazines

関西の雑誌

What is there to read in English for the foreign resident or traveler in the Kansai (western Japan) area of Japan?

Kansai Time Out

Kansai Time Out

The granddaddy of English language magazines in the Kansai, the KTO was founded in 1977 and claimed to be the oldest magazine of its type in Japan. Kobe-based, the mag was geared mainly to the older, long-term, resident Anglo-American ex-pat but there's something here for most residents and short-term visitors to Japan.

Recently published in color, the A4-sized KTO was a monthly listings magazine loosely based on London's "Time Out" and provides generally well-written feature articles, regional travel stories, book, film and restaurant reviews as well as comprehensive listings sections for local movies, festivals, concerts, theater performances, sports, meetings and clubs. There's also a regular crossword, letters section and free giveaways. The cover price is 300 yen or the KTO is available on subscription. Unfortunately the KTO went out of business in 2009.

Kansai Time Out

Kansai Scene

Kansai Scene

A relative new-comer, the Osaka-based Kansai Scene began life in 2000, challenging the KTO's previous monopoly on ex-pat publications in the Kansai. A5 sized, monthly, free and full-color, KS is aimed at a younger, more transient crowd than the KTO. The mag doesn't appear to pay for its content and it often shows! The standard of writing and editing can be decidedly mixed. There are feature and travel pieces, bar & restaurant reviews, community listings and good maps of the main entertainment areas in Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto.

Kansai Scene

Kyoto Journal

Kyoto Journal

Based in Kyoto, this high-brow not-for-profit quarterly began life in 1987. The brainchild of a group of (mainly) Kansai-based university professors, KJ is known for its minamalist design, quality photography and a succession of strong features on Japan and Asia from such guest writers as Yoko Tawada, Alex Kerr, Pico Iyer and Gavan McCormack. With a leftist, spiritual, ecological agenda to promote, the Kyoto Journal may sometimes come over as elitist and pretentious. The magazine's best articles are its interviews with national and international big-hitters; Aung San Suu Kyi, David Byrne, Liza Dalby, Ryu Murakami have all featured. Cover price 1000 yen or available on subscription.

Kyoto Journal

Kansai Flea Market

Kansai Flea Market

There's nothing to actually "read" in the Kansai Flea Market, certainly no articles or features, but the black and white free weekly publication is still going strong with listings of accommodation offers, language teaching jobs, personals, sayonara sales, bar ads and just about everything else. Free; also available on PDF download.

Kansai Flea Market

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