I’ve been out of Japan for a while, so I was behind on the news that Kansai Time Out had gone out of business. KTO was the oldest English publication in Japan and unlike a lot of English language magazines based in non-English-speaking countries, it’s editors actually gave a damn what was put between the covers.
It’s a huge loss to Kansai and Japan, as the competing monthlies are either free and lousy/trivial (I’m looking at you, Kansai Scene!) or glossy and content-light. KTO only cost ¥300 (about $3USD) per issue and had a great text-to-advertising ratio, though perhaps that was what killed it off. I haven’t been able to reach the former editor in chief to ask.
On a personal note, KTO gave me my first shot at writing before a large audience, cracking voice and sweaty palms and all. Christopher Stevens, the editor, made me jump through hoops, writing little pieces, before he would even look at a longer travel article I had written for his magazine, but it was for the best… that first long piece was UGLY.
I eventually wrote three travel pieces, one on Basic Japanese Buddhism, and was then invited to do a column on statues of deities and historical figures scattered around the region. In total wrote about twenty pieces for the mag over two years and was always happy to contribute to it.
Now that KTO is defunct I may post some of them online here so that the rest of you not living in Japan can have a look.
I don’t know what will replace KTO: Kansai Scene will fill in with events listings and Kyoto will cover the highbrow pieces, but I doubt that anything will pop up with a similar mix of Arts, Politics, and Japanese Culture.
Those of you living in Kansai, what are you reading? Do regional magazines matter? I sure think they do.