I was delighted to hear from Ken Rodgers that Kyoto Journal is returning to print after far too long a stint in digital publishing. This award-winning magazine, based in Kyoto but with a pan-Asian focus, has long been an important center of creative endeavor within the Kyoto community, and continues to foster and encourage a wide range of projects by artists, designers, writers, photographers, poets and translators! Staffed entirely by volunteers, in recent years the Kyoto Journal team have shown great enterprise in publishing special limited edition publications which are entirely funded by crowdfunding campaigns.
As to why their regular publication is returning to print as a biannual magazine, Ken Rodgers wrote this a few weeks back for the Writers in Kyoto blog:
The digital experience is seldom memorable, however novel its design; it lacks presence, too easily dissipates into the background blur of electronic media that occupies the user’s ever-decreasing attention span. On the other hand, a physical magazine (or book) prompts you to find relatively undistracted time for it. Opening physical pages, breathing in the distinctive aroma of ink and paper, you refocus, entering a different mental space that’s more conducive to engagement with fresh ideas, to perceiving lateral connections and subtle resonances.
Issue 89 will be released on October 20th and will focus “on ecologies of present-day crafts in Kyoto”. This is from the press release:
Specially featured in this issue—in addition to content from elswhere in Asia—is a collection of articles and essays depicting the present-day interdependent ecologies of (mostly) Kyoto traditional crafts. Photographers Everett Brown and Robert van Koesveld focus on takumi (the spirit of craftsmanship), and kagai, the local communities supporting geiko entertainers. Lauren W. Deutsch profiles the ten key craft families responsible for upholding the perfection of tea ceremony utensils. Ai Kanazawa-Cheu delves into the intricacies of tea whisks; Amae Dairik interviews one of the few remaining shamisen-repairers and Matsuyama Sachiko talks with the last maker of silk instrument strings; Douglas Brooks seeks out tool-making artisans who support fine woodcrafts. Melinda Heal introduces the delicate art of katagami stencils used in textile dyeing; Elise Lawrence interviews Emily Reynolds, a dedicated apprentice to a master clay wall plasterer. Meanwhile, Allen S. Weiss discusses toriawase, the art of matching specific ceramic pieces in tea ceremony or display, and Prairie Stuart-Wolf describes a perfect union of ceramics and cuisine.
Alexandra Ting celebrates the lively ecosystem of a traditional shotengai (shopping street) in her Kyoto neighborhood; Elle Murrell continues her series on entrepreneurial Kyoto women, introducing a master ikebana artist, and a maker of Japanese painting pigments who has created a fashionable new product. James Fyfe interviews Buddhist author Ruth Ozeki on “being a time being,” and KJ’s Rambler-at-large Robert Brady meets up with the rambling haikuist Matsuo Basho.
Further afield, KJ 89 presents a thoughtful essay on expat life in Hong Kong by Sebastian Bitticks, a photo-essay by Agung Parameswara on noodle-making in a village near Yogjakarta, and an interview with “Psychology Volunteers on Bikes” founders Edna Lee and Mishka Watin, from Cebu, the Philippines, on taking a permaculture approach to more enlightened urban planning. Christopher Impiglia tells a magical story of a medieval glassblower’s obsession, and Tripper Ryder traces his own obsession with Japanese traditional music as “a Tennessee Bumpkin in Emperor Kammu’s Court.” KJ 89 also offers Asia-connected poetry from the U.S., Korea, India, Hong Kong, and a wide-ranging collection of topical reviews.
In addition to the aroma of ink and its welcome physical presence, this issue is distinguished by unique features totally impossible to incorporate in digital format — a frontispiece of real kozo washi (mulberry-paper), and a double-spread foldout of a superb Kyoto image by Time cover photographer Russell Wong…
There will also be a special exhibition to celebrate 30 years of Kyoto Journal and its long awaited return to print:
KYOTO JOURNAL 89 EXHIBITION
At the Okazaki Tsutaya Bookstore
Oct. 20th to Nov. 10th
Material from KJ 89 will be exhibited including chasen (tea whisks) from Tango Tanimura, ceramic ware of Nakazato Hanako, shamisen strings from Marusen Hashimoto, calligraphy, photographs, and more. On Sunday Oct. 22, from 2pm, John Einarsen, KJ’s founding editor and publisher will speak about the magazine’s 30-year evolution and the future of English-language publishing in Japan, followed by a Q&A. Japanese interpretation will be provided.