Magazine Monday: パチンコ必勝ガイド


I bought Pachinko Hissho Guide in Japan last autumn because of its cover. I didn’t realize until later that it’s a pachinko magazine, apparently first published in 1988. I’ve never tried pachinko, and none of my Japanese friends do it. But the cover is amazing. Just as bustling as the pachinko parlours, like this one in Sendai:

Pachinko parlour in Sendai, Japan. Photo by Karl Andersson.


The content too is a rush of light and color, just what you need in the autumn. Various pachinko machines are explained in a mix of editorial content and ads. The ads that are not pachinko-related are for penis enlargement, prostitution and – quite sweet – cat cafés.


  • 必殺仕事人 = deadly working men (contract killers?), a Japanese drama from 1979 that had a remake in 2014
  • お祭りわっしょい = Festival, yippie!
  • ST & 通常時 = ST (?) & normal hours (ST = special time?)
  • 演出数値 = performance value? (something pachinko specific, according to my tandem partner)
  • 100連発!! = 100 gunfire/bombardment (jackpot?)


The nationwide introduced important action “Festival, yippie” quickly becomes naked (?!) (explained in a way that leaves nothing uncovered = naked?)


There’s definitely no way to avoid accomplishing the performance value of the starmine’s 100 gunfire! (?)


We also offer a premium performance introduction!

There’s a website too:









This is an ad for Hills Tower Clinic, a “male clinic” which offers various penis enlargements. My tandem partner explained that the guy on the photo is famous AV actor Taka Katou (加藤鷹), who according to wikipedia has a 17 cm long penis when erect. The offer in the middle is for extending the length of the penis by 3 to 8 cm (!), which costs 150,000 yen (currently 1,042 euro).

Six points explain the advantages of the clinic:

  1. It’s a male clinic and the staff is all male.
  2. Phone and email consultation, as well as counseling, are all free of charge.
  3. By appointment only and private rooms protect your privacy.
  4. Examination and treatment are finished in one day, no need for a hospital stay.
  5. Before the treatment we will explain clearly about the appropriate costs.
  6. After the treatment we offer a thorough 24 hour “after care” free of charge.

A little manga featuring Mr Katou explains the four steps to a longer penis:


  1. 無料電話相談 Free phone consultation
  2. 予約・来院 Appointment, visit the clinic
  3. 無料カウンセリング Free counseling
  4. 施術治療 Surgery treatment

There are 10 Hills Tower Clinics, you can visit them here. The three words in their slogan or motto is 安心、安全、満足 = peace of mind, safety, satisfaction.



Up to 60 minutes for free


Wives exclusive use 2 shot dial (?)


Meet nearby wives


They are hiding from their husbands …


These slutty wives are flowing over with elegance and will fulfill your dreams.

According to my tandem partner, both the sex line and the male clinic may be enterprises run by the yakuza.

Shibuya Publishing & Booksellers

I visited Shibuya Books yesterday, a publisher and book shop that stocks interesting art books and magazines from around the world. Since 2011 they also sell some of my publications.


We started off at the famous Shibuya crossing.


Shibuya Publishing.


Brutus logotype designed by Masahiro Shintani.



Swedish designer Lisa Larson is popular in Japan.



The photo book I published was almost sold out. Upon its release, it was recommended by Shibuya Books on their blog.


A coloured manga based on a Ghibli movie. Maybe the equivalent of those novels based on screenplays that are published in the West.

デザインのひきだし (Design drawer)

デザインのひきだし (Design no hikidashi) is a Japanese magazine focused on print design, and especially print effects. Between paper insets of various textures and colors (and materials, some seem to be plastic), there are reportages from printing companies and a number of case studies of how to print coupons, tissues, bookmarks, plastic cards, etc. Samples from the described processes are included in a little bag. This is issue 20.







Tadanori Yokoo

Tadanori Yokoo (born 1936) is a graphic designer and illustrator who is extremely famous in Japan and also quite well known abroad. I didn’t know his name, but I had seen his art, which is very characteristic in style and has influenced poster design a lot. Posters are what Yokoo is most famous for.

The thick book All about Tadanori Yokoo and his graphic works is impressive.


I found this quote from an essay by Christopher Mount:

He has the cultural status and following of a rock star or movie star in Japan. Yokoo is considered one of the great postwar cultural figures right along side Kurasawa, Mishima, Ono, Kusama, Ando or Miyake. I was surprised once when I met him for lunch at MoMA many years ago and a group of teenage Japanese tourists swarmed him for pictures and autographs. Everybody in Japan knows who he is. We don’t have graphic designers like that here in the U.S.

I’m sure you will recognize the style of some of the posters, maybe not from Yokoo himself, but from other designers who have been influenced by him:






Above right Idea 92 from 1969.




Above: A dramatic Ashita no Joe cover of Shounen Magazine. Interesting that a comic page with many frames can work so well as a cover.






Masahiro Shintani

Masahiro Shintani, born 1943, is a very influential magazine designer.

(His last name Shintani means “new valley”: 新谷. That name exists in Swedish too: Nydahl.)

In the 1970s, which was a sort of golden age of Japanese magazines, he was the founding art director of (pop) culture magazines such as An-An (1970), Popeye (1976), Brutus (1980) and Olive (1982) (all published by Magazine House).

Shintani’s book デザインにルールなんてない (Design has no rules) contains numerous samples of his work.







This style feels very American to me, and many articles seem to deal with American pop culture. In fact, Mr Shintani also designed two one-shots called Made in America. It must have felt very fresh in Japan in the 1970s. But the style holds! This kind of instrumental design is still how mainstream/accessible lifestyle magazines present their content:



The book also contains some interesting sketches that you can compare to the printed result in the magazine:



In many ways, modern magazine design peaked in the 1970s. Nothing significant has happened since then, and won’t happen, since magazines aren’t big business anymore. Attempts to apply this kind of magazine design on various digital devices like the ipad is just silly. New media must have their own style.

Kohei Sugiura

Kohei Sugiura is one of the most famous magazine designers in Japan. He is also known throughout Asia. The book Wind and Lightning: A Half-Century of Magazine Design by Kohei Sugiura (Trans Art 2004) presents his work from 1960 to 2004.

But first let’s take a look at his name. His first name Kohei is written 康平, which surprised me since my friend Kohei’s name is written 浩平. The second kanji, which they share, means peace/harmony/fairness. The last name Sugiura is written 杉浦. I don’t know the second kanji, but the first one is the same “sugi” as in Suginami-ku, the ward where I live. Suginami is written 杉並.

Here are some photos of his works from the 1960s:






What strikes me the most is how timeless and modern it looks. Especially the last pictures’ simple covers and illustrations could as well have been published today. I really like them.

Here are some later designs:




Notice how these covers are designed for continuity; just the issue number and the colour change between the issues. It looks so good when you see a long series of issues together, like this. There is total focus on the text and images. The form just acts a simple but reliable support for the content. Very elegant.

Some other examples of his design (though it’s for the stringent parts above I’ll remember him):




Another example of simple consistency over the issues:


Perfectly gridded page:


The edit of Tokyo

This internship gives me a great chance to learn about Japanese magazine design. I’ll report a bit about what I learn here, mainly to remember it myself but also to give anyone who is interested a chance to get a general idea about it.

The edit of TokyoThe book “The edit of Tokyo. Visionary Tokyo editors: Their Lives and Works” by Masanobu Sugatsuke (Pie Books 2007) contains interviews with a number of famous Japanese magazine editors.

Each interview starts with a quote in English about what editing is: “Edit is ecstacy”, “Edit is war”, “Edit is magical”, “Edit is fiction”, “Edit is to defuse, not to deepen”, “Edit is a bird’s-eye view”, “Edit is innovation”, “Edit is encounter”, “Edit is extension of the sense”, “Edit is to depend on others”, and so on. (Or maybe I actually covered all of them there.)

However, even though it’s interesting with those perspectives on editing (I think especially the last one is interesting), there was one that I thought was spot on. Here it is:

The edit of Tokyo: Makoto Sekikawa

Exactly, Makoto Sekikawa: Edit is package! You take a piece of the chaotic world and you package it for the reader so that he can grasp it. That’s why I like print publishing so much, because it’s literally graspable. So I wasn’t surprised that I found Mr Sekikawa’s magazines the most interesting. Here are some samples:





I think what many of these covers have in common is presence. Look at the two girls on the first photo (looks like issue 6 and 2). One from what seems like a documentary article about something serious, the other from some kind of fashion reportage probably. But both equally engaging to the viewer! Two girls, one editor. (Or maybe art director, who knows.)

Idea Magazine

Idea is a design magazine covering “international graphic art and typography”. It has been around since the 1950s; the current issue is number 361. It’s a bi-monthly quality publication and quite expensive, at least outside Japan. It’s always thick and often uses special paper insets, spot colors and glitter varnish. Browsing it reminds me a bit of reading Wired in the 90s, when magazines were still big business and the reader was treated to various smashing print effects.

Idea is published by Seibundo Shinkosha, a quite big publisher with many titles. The magazine has an international following despite only some issues are bilingual. You can get it at Pro qm in Berlin and similar book shops.

And this is the cool magazine where I’m doing my internship! I’ve already learned a lot about the way Japanese magazines are produced. It differs a lot from Europe in some core aspects, which I will cover in my report to the Swedish Publicists’ Association, who were so kind to give me the scholarship that pays for my stay here.

Today issue 361 came from the printers. Ah, the smell of fresh print! I think it’s my only real addiction. You can read more about the content here. I am the one who translated the longer texts to English, it was my first assignment.

Here are some photos I took of the new issue:











The last picture is from Idea 16, from 1956, when they covered Swedish design: