Monday, November 23, 2009

The Big Issue, #128

There's a magazine in Japan (and in 7 other countries), called "The Big Issue" that purports to be dedicated to helping out the homeless. The concept is that a handful of copies of each issue are given to specific homeless people to sell at 300 yen each. After that, additional copies are available for purchase at about 140 yen that they can also sell at 300. Whatever they make as profit is theirs to keep. Partly it's a form of business training, and partly it's a way to give them some kind of income that they can feel proud to receive. I've seen people selling these magazines before, mainly around Shinjuku, but I hadn't bothered trying to get a copy until recently.

A few weeks ago, when I was in the Tokyo Dome area, I noticed one guy hawking this magazine with Tetsuwan Atomu and Tensai Bakabon no Ojisan (Astro Boy and Bakabon's father) on the cover. On impulse, I bought a copy. Later, I realized that it had an interview with the daughters of the creators, Rumiko Tezuka and Rieko Akatsuka. The article is way too text-heavy for me to go through all of it. And I don't want to deal with the copyright issues involved in posting a translation here. Instead, I'll just mention the story, and give you a glimpse of both women. I'm happy I got this issue, and I'm more likely to buy another copy in the future.

(Photos copyright of The Big Issue. Used here for review purposes only.)

Rumiko has her own record label, which is currently promoting a new release of music from "the Phoenix" anime. Rieko is an artist/illustrator living in London, although she is involved in managing her father's estate.

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