Five years working as supervisor of a mainly pornographic gay magazine convinced Toh Ogura, 38, that gays in Japan need a lifestyle magazine.
Although a handful of pornographic magazines have been available, no lifestyle magazine targeted gays before Ogura started Fabulous in November. He now sees his magazine as a kind of Esquire for gay males.
“I believe there is a need for a gay lifestyle magazine that helps gay people establish their cultural identities and lifestyles, because the country’s gay scene has matured, and many gays now want nonpornographic media,” Ogawa said.
He said his bimonthly mainly targets readers in their late 20s and 30s who have already overcome difficulties associated with their homosexual orientation and now wish to expand their cultural interests and lifestyles.
At first glance, the magazine looks like any pop culture ‘zine that roams through art, fashion, travel, food and health.
The only difference is that everything is written from a gay perspective.
“I have long waited for a magazine like Fabulous that satisfies my cultural appetite, which is unavoidably under the influence of my sexual orientation as a gay,” said a 26-year-old reader from Sapporo. By offering a magazine that contains extended features relating to homosexual lifestyles, Ogura hopes to make gay culture more visible to the general public.
He said he envisions a future in which ordinary firms actively tap the gay market and provide services and commodities for gays, noting the magazine could provide one avenue toward making this a reality.
“It can also encourage gay people to start their own businesses targeted at people with the same sexual orientation,” he added.
However, as the magazine itself makes apparent, Ogura’s dream may be difficult to realize. Although the magazine’s articles are comparable to mainstream lifestyle or fashion magazines, its ads still stand out; most pitch sexual and pornographic services or commodities.
According to Ogura, neither firms targeting their services and commodities at homosexuals nor mainstream companies willing to advertise their services in gay magazines are common these days. “The gap between the stories in the magazine and the ads (we run) may be an indication that our magazine is too far ahead of the public and businesses’ awareness of the lives of gay people,” he said.
Nevertheless, Ogura stresses that it is the media’s responsibility to draw public attention to the real lifestyle and culture of today’s “I started publishing Fabulous before becoming confident that it would be accepted by the general public, or even by gay people,” he said.
“But I felt it was my responsibility as a gay person who had worked for a long time in a media firm to take action.”
Fabulous is available from Terra Publications, at bookstores and at Tower Records.
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