Japanese-language magazine gives expats, business travelers vital tips for living in New Delhi

Free publication a success in India


A free monthly publication in Japanese published in New Delhi is gaining popularity among Japanese residents there and business travelers.

The magazine Chalo — meaning “Let’s go” in Hindi — was first published at the end of 2010.

Readership of the magazine — which provides a variety of useful information on everyday life that isn’t featured in regular travel guides — has been steadily increasing.

Although the majority of pages feature advertisements, the magazine contains a number of items ranging from information on restaurants, cram schools and social activities to tips on accounting and tax practices in India.

Some 4,500 Japanese nationals were living in India as of October 2010, while the number of Japanese companies operating there has surged by almost 50 percent in just the past three years.

Information about local living is valuable to Japanese expats and their families, says the publisher, and a lot of them pick up copies at Japanese markets and hotels when they go shopping or eat out.

Advertising is up, with even Indian companies now placing ads.

Billing itself as the first free monthly Japanese-language publication in India, its volume has increased almost fourfold from the initial 20 pages and circulation has been built up to almost 4,000 a month.

Behind the success is 34-year-old Harumi Shinsha. She is in charge of a variety of work at the publishing firm, ranging from editing to marketing.

Although it was the brainchild of her boyfriend, who had work experience in India, and an Indian friend of his, Shinsha was the one who gave shape to the publication as its editor-in-chief.

Drawing on her experience working as an editor at a major free paper in Japan, Shinsha managed to publish the first edition some four months after first setting foot on Indian soil.

“The key to success is to keep providing (fresh and) interesting information for readers as India is undergoing fast changes on the back of rapid economic growth,” she said.

Shinsha, who splits her time between Japan and India, stressed the importance of being the very first to publish.

She has plans to start similar free magazines in the cities of Bangalore and Chennai by the end of this year.