What is the Big Issue Japan ?
The Big Issue is many things to many people. To the reader, it is considered to be a refreshing read with its alternative take on the news and issues of the day . To the vendor it is seen as a lifeline to earn an income and often, a welcome port in a storm. The Big Issue is a product that people are encouraged to buy through a street vendor, who is a self-employed agent of the organization.
Launched in September 2003 as a monthly publication, it became biweekly in September 2004 with a circulation of 40,000. The magazine has sold a total of 980,000 copies in 18 months (as of March-end 2005, 24 th issue) and generated a total income of 110,000,000 yen for the homeless population.
The Big Issue stands alone
Eighty percent of people sleeping rough in Osaka actually work, and the majority of homeless people want to maintain their independence through work. The Big Issue offers them the opportunity to do this by earning an income working as Big Issue vendors. Our magazine is unique by virtue of the fact that it is only available on the streets for sale from homeless people.
The interaction between customers and vendors is a new and hopeful development on the streets of Japan . It has created a healthier atmosphere on the streets as greater understanding is achieved and readers have commented that vendors create a warm and pleasant street community. Many customers also commented that they are encouraged by the positive attitude of our vendors- Big Issue is proud to have facilitated this new relationship.