A Guide to Japanese Fashion Magazines

Historically, Japan’s fascination with Western culture and fashion permeated the country’s

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Historically, Japan’s fascination with Western culture and fashion permeated the country’s long-standing traditional perceptions of style. Over time, influential figures like the “Godfather of Streetwear” Hiroshi Fujiwara and A Bathing Ape founder NIGO, along with a handful of others, started fusing elements from both cultures creating the very underpinnings of Japanese street fashion today. With some of the industry’s biggest heavyweights coming from Tokyo, it’s hardly a surprise that countless visitors from around the world flock to the streets of Harajuku, Shibuya and Daikanyama to get their hands on the latest in fashion, both domestic and international. The fashion savviness extends outside of streetwear, and has a large part of the Japanese population paying close attention to the latest trends from home and abroad. One doesn’t need to look very far on the streets of Japan to see immaculately dressed and styled men, as well as the sartorially experimental who have put Japan on the fashion map.

This profound invested interest has culminated in the formation of countless Japanese menswear publications that are often very specific by nature, but are known to provide an aesthetically-pleasing reading experience with stunning imagery and meticulous attention to detail. Though the general state of Japan’s publishing industry has taken a turn for the worse with 11 consecutive years of declining sales, a number of smaller publishing houses have allowed multiple angles and viewpoints of niche subject matters to be explored. Whether you’re into streetwear, high-fashion, mind-blowing electronic gadgets or just simply want to get an overview on what’s out there, these publications cover it all. Even if you can’t read the text they will certainly keep you entertained and maybe even serve as daily inspirations. Here are 17 Japanese fashion publications you should know about in no particular order.


MEN’S NON-NO

First published in 1987 by Tokyo-based Shueisha, MENS NON-NO is the male equivalent to the immensely popular women’s magazine Non-no. Arguably one of Japan’s most influential and widely read publications around, MENS NON-NO features an extensive array of menswear styles ranging from street, contemporary and high fashion, as well as more formal attires, making it appealing to a broad audience regardless of age and interest. While the majority of the magazine is dedicated to all things fashion, certain subsections highlight topics outside the fashion realm including trendy eateries, lifestyle tips in addition to some sports coverage. The Streetsnaps component presents eye-catching pedestrian trends both in Japan and other fashion capitals around the world, serving as a stylistic inspiration for the magazine’s readers. A regular column written by streetwear guru Hiroshi Fujiwara is another reason to get your hands on a copy. If you’re lucky, you may even get a limited pocket-size memorabilia that’s inserted in between the pages of the magazine.

Category: For the mid-20s fashion enthusiasts looking stay on top of the latest popular trends.
Year of Inception: 1986
Frequency: Monthly
Japanese List Price: ¥760 JPY (approximately $6 USD)
Where to Cop?HYPEBEAST StoreCDJapanFujisanAmazon Japan


GRIND

If there was ever a magazine that flawlessly combined rugged streetwear styles with a more polished fashion-forward aesthetic, GRIND would be at the top of the list. Although it didn’t start off as a monthly publication, GRINDs rapid rise in popularity called for a more frequent release. It highlights the latest offerings from the world’s streetwear heavyweights like NEIGHBORHOOD, WTAPS, Supreme and A Bathing Ape, while also providing a platform for exposure for some of the industry’s lesser-known brands. The GRIND editorials are always carefully styled and well-executed, making them a common feature on a number of fashion blogs. In addition to the extensive clothing coverage, additional features on household items and practical accessories give the reader a thorough rundown of the coolest items available on the market. GRIND should be a staple coffee-table publication for streetwear and contemporary fashion enthusiasts everywhere.

Category: For veterans of the camp out for hyped drops.
Year of Inception: 2009
Frequency: Monthly
Japanese List Price: ¥680 JPY (approximately $6 USD)
Where to Cop?HYPEBEAST Store, CDJapan, Fujisan, HAVENAmazon Japan


POPEYE

Not to be confused with the fictional cartoon character, POPEYE is one of Japan’s oldest fashion publications having been around since the 1970s. It has gone on to establish itself as a trendsetting menswear magazine for young fashion enthusiasts. Known as a “Magazine for City Boys,” it wouldn’t be a stretch to call it a “legendary” magazine, with the plethora of exclusive editorials it has put out with some of the biggest names in streetwear. POPEYE’s influence spans over 800 issues (and counting) and as a result it has become synonymous with Japan’s fashion and lifestyle landscape with many of today’s adults having grown up purchasing a copy every month. A beautiful vintage aesthetic and compelling coverage on the dapper outfits, outdoor activities and recipes are all part of what this publication has to offer. Furthermore, the magazine’s city guides provide a great overview of how to get an authentic travel experience with tips on hidden gems, local eateries and highly-rated retail locations – things are often not listed in your standard guidebook.

Category: For the hipsters and streetwear aficionados alike.
Year of Inception: 1976
Frequency: Monthly
Japanese List Price: ¥760 JPY (approximately $6 USD)
Where to Cop?CDJapanFujisanAmazon Japan


SENSE

SENSE isn’t your traditional menswear magazine. If you’ve been looking for a magazine that covers high fashion, streetwear and everything in between, SENSE is probably the one that does it the best. Advertisements from fashion houses like Etro, Calvin Klein grace the pages alongside Giuseppe Zanotti and mastermind JAPAN, and as unusual as that may seem this is what makes SENSE so distinct. Catering to a more international audience than some of the other Japanese publications, the monthly magazine is widely available throughout the country at almost every convenience store and attracts a diverse readership because of the range of content it provides. With a humorous approach to editorial pieces like “Fashion Addict Recommendations,” curated retail shop listings, a beginner’s guide to denim, detailed automotive reviews, and features on some of the influential individuals in the fashion industry, the magazine will appeal to fashion-savvy individuals or even to the most casual reader.

Category: For the middle-aged guy with a lot of disposable income.
Year of Inception: 2000
Frequency: Monthly
Japanese List Price: ¥840 JPY (approximately $7 USD)
Where to Cop?HYPEBEAST StoreCDJapanFujisanHAVENAmazon Japan


Ollie

Ollie prides itself in being one of Japan’s most popular street culture print publications with a particular focus on skateboarding and BMX, as well as the fashion, musical and cultural aspects that come with it. Known for its rugged street aesthetic, the likes of A$AP Rocky, Detto K, Verbal, NIGO, Skrillex and Tyler, the Creator have graced the magazine’s cover, which has been around for almost a decade. Ollie gives you a complete rundown of the latest trends from established streetwear imprints, while also highlighting upcoming Japanese brands and artists that are just breaking into the scene. In recent years the magazine has added another facet to its growing business with an online shop that stocks garments from mainstay skate brands including Chocolate, HUF, etnies and Lakai.

Category: For the fans of streetwear and action sports.
Year of Inception: 1996
Frequency: Monthly
Japanese List Price: ¥550 JPY (approximately $5 USD)
Where to Cop?CDJapanFujisanAmazon Japan


mono

Mono which is the Japanese word for “object” or “thing” has been a staple publication in Japan’s convenience stores and book stores since the 1980s. Unlike some of the other magazines listed here, mono doesn’t prioritize fashion but instead focuses on the coolest (for lack of a better word) gadgets and unique design products available on the market. Perfect for tech-savvy individuals eager to stay on top of the seasonal trends, the publication gives an extensive overview on a range of items including watches, bags, sneakers, laptops, cameras and tech accessories. The magazine’s in-depth reviews provide the reader with comparisons to similar products, as well as cheaper alternatives making it a handy buyer’s guide. If you have some spare income that you’re willing to part with, grab a copy of mono and you’re guaranteed to find an awesome gadget or home accessory that has yet to be released outside of Japan.

Category: For those consumed with fashion and gadgets and appreciate clean, minimalist layouts.
Year of Inception: 1982
Frequency: Bimonthly
Japanese List Price: ¥530 JPY (approximately $4 USD)
Where to Cop?CDJapanFujisanAmazon Japan


GO OUT

Japan has always had a particular fascination with the outdoors. Whether it’s the appreciation of natural beauty due to the prominence of Mt. Fuji, the immaculate powder snow readily available in Hokkaido, or just because of the sheer practicality of outdoor clothing, you are bound to see a host of people rocking staple brands like The North Face and Patagonia when strolling through the streets of Tokyo. As the name of the publication already suggests, GO OUT is one of Japan’s biggest magazines covering all the latest outdoor and technical gear from the major domestic and imported brands. With endless coverage of apparel, outerwear, footwear, bags and accessories, GO OUT is jam-packed with gear and garment reviews, travel logs and stunning photography that will make you want to get outside. If you need some guidance on what kind of hiking equipment to purchase, or some outdoorsy stylistic inspiration for your wardrobe, this magazine has you covered.

Category: For the swagged out camper.
Year of Inception: 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Japanese List Price: ¥680 JPY (approximately $6 USD)
Where to Cop?HYPEBEAST StoreCDJapanFujisanHAVENAmazon Japan


PRODISM

PRODISM may not be as popular as some of the other publications listed, but that is by no means due to the lack of newsworthy content. Headed by Editor-in-Chief Atsuo Watanabe, formerly of OUSTANDING, this quarterly magazine is still relatively new to the scene having released its debut issue in October of 2013, but it has rapidly become a favorite among more mature Japanese fashion enthusiasts. With a target demographic of late 20s to 40s, PRODISM is undoubtedly more interested in quality than quantity and examines a premium selection of consumer goods from brands like uniform experiment, Thom Browne, Saint Laurent, visvim, N.HOOLYWOOD and PORTER just to name a few. With a thorough mix of high fashion and streetwear, PRODISM provides a refined scope for youthful adults.

CategoryHypebeasts on the search for luxury alternatives.
Year of Inception: Quarterly
Frequency: 2013
Japanese List Price: ¥1,008 JPY (approximately $8 USD)
Where to Cop?CDJapanHAVENAmazon Japan


EYESCREAM

Founded in 2004, EYESCREAM is a fashion and lifestyle magazine with a particular focus on the Japanese fashion industry. What differentiates this magazine from the various menswear publications in existence is that it draws attention to the creative and artistic side of the industry through intriguing content on many of the individuals behind the scenes, rather than just the brands themselves. Although it does provide coverage on some of the major foreign imprints, a vast number of features are centered around domestic labels like Cav Empt, Human Made, TAKAHIROYAMASHITATheSoloIst. and nonnative. Q&A’s with influential figures including NIGO, Masaaki Honma, Hiroshi Fujiwara, Shinsuke Takizawa and Tetsu Nishiyama serve as proof that EYESCREAM is well-respected in fashion circles. Though the publication caters towards a more Japanese audience, just flipping through the pages is sure to keep foreign readers entertained.

Category: For people looking for the next level of streetwear.
Year of Inception: 2004
Frequency: Monthly
Japanese List Price: ¥910 JPY (approximately $8 USD)
Where to Cop?CDJapanFujisanAmazon Japan


LEON

Founded in 2001, LEON is a menswear magazine dedicated to the choi waru oyaji, which more or less translates to “the bad-ass middle-aged man.” With a target audience of single Japanese men in their 30s and 40s that have a lot of disposable income, this niche magazine provides coverage on elegant and sophisticated European flair, with a particular emphasis on Italian trends. Girolama Panzetta, an Italian ex-pat who is regularly seen on TV programs in Japan, adorns almost all the covers (funnily enough he actually holds the world record of most consecutive magazine covers). Featuring an assortment of the finest suits, polished shoes, chic accessories and even a subsection on sports, LEON has all the essentials for the modern middle-aged man looking to stay updated with in-season looks from Europe.

Category: Men in their 40s and 50s looking for a wardrobe revamp.
Year of Inception: 2001
Frequency: Monthly
Japanese List Price: ¥930 JPY (approximately $8 USD)
Where to Cop?CDJapanFujisanAmazon Japan


SHOES MASTER

The self-proclaimed “World’s Greatest Shoe Magazine” is Japan’s premier footwear publication. It provides a thorough overview on the global sneaker culture from a Japanese perspective with all the latest scoops on collaborative and limited releases, guides on sneaker boutiques, in addition to compelling feature stories that examine the evolution of iconic silhouettes. Founded in 2004, the magazine is released on a biannual basis and is a must-cop for sneakerheads looking to stay on top of their footwear game. Casual enthusiasts are bound to be intrigued by the extensive catalog of footwear and will also get a better understanding of what’s available on the market. Whether you’re into runners, basketball shoes or skate silhouettes, SHOES MASTER covers it all.

Category: The quintessential sneakerhead looking to see what’s dropping next before the Internetz.
Year of Inception: 2004
Frequency: Biannual
Japanese List Price: ¥780 JPY (approximately $7 USD)
Where to Cop?: Amazon Japan


Lightning

Now spanning over 250 issues, Lightning is without a doubt Japan’s most well-known denim magazine. Instilled with a 1950s Americana aesthetic, the publication caters towards lovers of vintage garments and everything else that comes with the lifestyle. It’s jam-packed with beautiful imagery of classic cars, motorcycles, timeless films and art decor, underlining some of the influential themes from back in the day. In-depth guides to different kinds of denim, quality control checks, coverage on leather accessories and boots, and behind-the-scenes looks at the industry’s most notable manufacturers are just part of what this magazine has to offer. With a generation that’s preoccupied with the most cutting-edge goods out there, Lightning magazine provides a satisfying look back at some of the timeless trends that are still very relevant in our world today.

Category: For the OG denim and Americana fan.
Year of Inception: 1994
Frequency: Monthly
Japanese List Price: ¥999 JPY (approximately $8 USD)
Where to Cop?CDJapanFujisanAmazon Japan


OUTSTANDING

From trendsetting duo Hiroshi Fujiwara and DETZ Matsuda’s publishing company Doubt Everything, comes OUTSTANDING magazine: a curated lifestyle magazine covering everything related to outdoor pastimes. Not your typical outdoor publication, OUTSTANDING is filled with highly-anticipated releases from the likes of White Mountaineering, uniform experiment, Nike Sportswear and other personal favorites from Hiroshi and co. that fall under the active lifestyle realm. Comprehensive interviews, top-notch imagery, and detailed editorials in both Japanese AND English are just some of the reasons you should get your hands on a copy. Now in its eighth issue, the seasonal publication will give you a curated selection of performance, hiking, skiing and running gear from two of Japan’s acclaimed style gurus.

Category: For Hypebeasts who will jock anything HF touches.
Year of Inception: 2001
Frequency: Biannual
Japanese List Price: ¥994 JPY (approximately $8 USD)
Where to Cop?CDJapanHAVENFujisanAmazon Japan


Studio Journal Knock

Studio Journal Knock is a relatively new magazine having released its debut issue in 2013. Headed by graphic designer Isao Nishiyama, the biannual publication documents his fascinating travels around the globe with a particular focus on different local artists, and the behind-the-scenes processes that occur in their respective studios. Breathtaking imagery of diverse landscapes, architecture, creative personalities and works of art grace the pages of the publication, which will make you want to hop on to a plane and explore a new part of the world. The magazine has already covered localities in Thailand, California, Portland and most recently areas of Latin America. For photographers, musicians and art aficionados alike, Studio Journal Knock serves both as a daily dose of inspiration and a brief visual escape from your everyday routine.

Category: For the artsy people with an appreciation for creativity and photography from around the world.
Year of Inception: 2013
Frequency: Biannual
Japanese List Price: ¥1,800 JPY (approximately $15 USD)
Where to Cop?: Coffee Table Mags, Allscript


2nd Magazine

From the same publisher as Lightning comes 2nd Magazine, a lifestyle and fashion publication that features a unique blend of Americana and outdoor influences. First published in 2007, 2nd is widely-read among the more mature Japanese crowd (think mid-thirties), and doesn’t necessarily follow the latest trends or popular items but instead showcases a curated selection of practical and utilitarian menswear garments, footwear and lifestyle goods. If you’re all about the hype this might not be your magazine of choice, but for those in the search of more comfortable and durable alternatives without compromising their style, 2nd Magazine should be a staple in your household. With its influence spanning just shy of the century mark, this niche publication is available on a monthly basis at most bookstores in Japan.

Category: The middle-aged guy who’s moved past all the hype of streetwear but enjoys functional and durable fashion.
Year of Inception: 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Japanese List Price: ¥700 JPY (approximately $6 USD)
Where to Cop?CDJapanFujisanAmazon Japan


Free & Easy

Having made its debut in 1998, Free & Easy is a menswear magazine dedicated to throwback American heritage styles which are presented in the publication’s distinct rugged aesthetic. With a target audience of ages 30 to 50, Free & Easy offers a more laid-back selection of outdoor, preppy and utilitarian styles stemming from the States, with classic office furniture, leather goods and denim also being given a fair bit of coverage. The magazine is a bit of a contrast to the aforementioned LEON, and the monthly issues vary somewhat in the scope of coverage because certain themes or items are given more prominence in the pages depending on the time of year. Having covered iconic American male typecasts like cowboys, surfers and other outdoorsy motifs, individuals who are fascinated with the heritage of the U.S. culture will be intrigued by the interesting editorials on different manufacturing processes, and the high standard of visuals. Free & Easy has also been involved in the curation of RUGGED FACTORY, a concept store modeled after a throwback American general store which carries all the plaid, denim, tweed and leather garments you could wish for.

Category: For those who love anything quintessentially American in fashion and storytelling.
Year of Inception: 1998
Frequency: Monthly
Japanese List Price: ¥990 JPY (approximately $8 USD)
Where to Cop?HYPEBEAST StoreCDJapanFujisanAmazon Japan


ibought

ibought is a lifestyle magazine designed to be the ultimate companion for shoppers of all types. Since the publication’s debut in 2013, its rise in popularity among fashion-savvy and creative individuals is not surprising considering the in-depth editorials on the industry’s heavyweights and compelling features on some of Japan’s most influential individuals like Shinsuke Takizawa, VERBAL and Masaaki Homma. “Shopping Maps Drawn by the Experts in Tokyo” and “Websites that Creators Check Everyday” are just a couple examples of what this publication has to offer. ibought is also known for profiling lesser-known brands giving them increased exposure to a wider audience. The beautiful imagery and clean layouts give the reader a pleasant reading experience.

Category: For those looking to cop something backed by Japanese influencers.
Year of Inception: 2013
Frequency: Quarterly
Japanese List Price: ¥1,030 JPY (approximately $9 USD)
Where to Cop?CDJapanHAVENAmazon Japan

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