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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

LGBT-friendly magazine "Oriijin" launch party

オリジイン

Yesterday evening I had the pleasure of attending the LGBT-friendly Oriijin Magazine Launch Party in Tokyo. Oriijin is, as the name of the event suggests, a brand new magazine that is being marketed as "LGBT-friendly," i.e., targeted at LGBT people and their allies.

First edition of Oriijin オリイジン a new LGBTQ-friendly magazine for Japan.
Orijiin - a new LGBTQ-friendly magazine for Japan.
The venue was a new space in Hirakawacho, Chiyoda ward, called Space 0 (Space Zero), on the basement floor of the Grid Building. This spacious, high-ceilinged venue has a chic vibe and even serves craft beer.

The entry fee included a complimentary copy of the very first Oriigin magazine and a free drink. I sat down with my drink and magazine, but hadn't browsed far before I got talking to another participant, a member of the Fruits in Suits group that was organizing the event.

After half an hour or so, at about 7:30pm, the event got underway.

Diamond Publishing is the first mainstream publishing company in Japan to publish an LGBT-aligned magazine, and a representative of the company was there to say a few words for the occasion.

Oriijin launch party - the discussion panel is introduced.
Discussion panel at Oriijin launch party, in Space Zero, Chiyoda, Tokyo.

This was followed by a panel discusion began, comprising Morinaga Takahiko, President of the Japan LGBT Research Institute. Inc., Koizumi Shintaro, President of SK Travel Consulting, an LGBT-friendly travel company, and Goto Junichi, Editor of the Sexual Minorities and Homosexuality Guide and Editor of the LGBT Information Portal Website g-lad xx. The buzz was great between these very accomplished players on Japan's LGBT scene - and English speakers among the crowd were kept fully abreast of everything thanks to the very switched on Japanese-English interpreting of Fruits in Suits organizer, Loren Sykes.

The 40-minute or so panel chat was followed by a Q&A-cum-sharing session that warmed up over time.

The first issue of Oriijin magazine is a glossy, 128-page affair with lots of big, mainstream advertisers. The title-theme for this first edition is "Living in the Age of the Heart and Diversity" (the "heart" having the meaning of the thing to be followed, as opposed to social norms).

Grid building, where the Oriijin launch party took place in Space 0 on the B1 floor.
Grid Building, Hirakawacho, Tokyo, where the Oriijin launch party took place

The articles span everything from biographical profiles of well-known LGBT figures in Japan, to social analysis, personal philosophy, fiction, political updates and commentary (e.g., an overview of the increasing number of moves by local authorities in Japan to secure the rights of LGBT residents) and just a touch of froth in the form of an astrology page near the end. It is a good-looking magazine with a lot of very solid content that is sure to help forge a new path for LGBT rights in Japan.

Incidentally the name Oriijin is "nijiiro" ("rainbow colors") spelt backwards.

Oriijin is on sale in mainstream bookshops throughout Japan, and sells for 980 yen. Here's wishing this brand new LGBT magazine a long and bright future.

Read more about gay Japan.

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