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THINGSText: Atsuko Kobayashi

A new magazine, +81, has been launched featuring articles about creators’ workshop and process to complete their work. The first issue features Tomato, Dazed&Confused, a creative director of Parappa the Rapper, fashion designers in Hong Kong, an editorial department of Paris-based magazine. It’s a new type of magazine which has contents in Japanese and English language…

+81 is the number for the oversea call to Japan. 81 originates in an idea of linking between creators throughout the world via the internet on the telephone line, which is embodied in the magazine.

SHIFT visited the editorial department of +81 in Akasaka, Tokyo and asked a chief editor, Toru Hachiga, about the unique bilingual mag.

Could you tell us about how you set up +81?

I’d committed myself to a project, called Timing Zero, which was my work on graphic design with Gento Matsumoto. It was part of my indies activity in visuals in collaboration with Tycoon Graphics and Gento Matsumoto, and the first one was really underground. And then I worked on poster type, Ken Ishii’s interview, an event for BEAMS and so on. Basically, I have been working in the field of visuals and graphics. What I wanted to do in this mag was to sort of mingle every creative category such as fashion, music, graphics, make-up art, game creation, regardless of boundaries in creation.

Rare and valuable visual/design magazine out in ’94. The issue one featured stunning visuals done only with the colour of red and blue on tracing paper contributed by 9 graphic designers, Senichiro Azuma, Shinji Noto, Gento Matsumoto etc. Issue two had three kind of posters, one by TYCOON GRAPHICS, one with an interview article of dextro printed and one with an dialogue between Ken Ishii and a graphic designer, Katsuhiko Kimura, printed. And other than those two issues, there was issue 0 that is now impossible to get. Picture above is from TIMING ZERO issue two by dextro.

Unlike other stereo typed magazines, +81 has a different approach to the creators, it focuses on how they work on their mags and visuals. I think it’s quite an interesting mag you make when many have been drawn to creation and involved with it.

Glad to hear that. (laugh) Everytime I am abroad, I am frequently asked by magazine editors about Japanese mags. Actually, they know a lot about the Japanese mags. And they can’t get what’s written there in Japanese, which is, I believe, unfair. Now many use the internet which makes you require English language. Jyappu purposely uses the Roman letters and In Natural features English with all articles. I thought it’s best to put English along with Japanese to get it across to foreign people. So +81 makes the bilingual magazine both in Japanese and English. And 81 is the country number of the overseas call for Japan. Basically, I’d like to focus on creators in the mag. Creators, their envoironments and works, these are three main focuses of +81.

Are you trying to emphasise the term “from Japan”?

As you know, TOKION, Jyappu, In Natural are all based in Japan. My goal is not only just sending information, what’s happening in Japan but connecting with each other via +81. It happens to be in Japan we make the mag. I had this idea that people can connect with each other by dialing 81. It’s a link to someone else, you know. So, I didn’t mean to stress on “from Japan”, really. And, +81 sticks to do what only paper mag can do and be a paper mag, which naturally means we tend to feature mainly graphic designers in there.

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