Why is ‘Big Issue Japan ' so popular?
What do the homeless and the young generation have in common? They are jobless! The employment rate for new college graduates is 55.8% (2004), of which 30% leave their jobs after three years. For young people, jobs should be opportunities to become part of the society. Is there hope in a society where young people are not given opportunities? Our goal is to contribute to the creation of a society that is flexible and allows reintegration for those once left behind.
Big Issue specifically targets readers in their 20s and early 30s. Every two weeks, we are strive to create an opinion magazine that cuts deep into social issues and tackles negative social conditions with a positive attitude. The magazine also aims to entertain, and with its alternative arts section focused on younger readers, it attracts readers from a broad spectrum of society. Our international stories are excerpted from many of our affiliate street papers in England , as well as in 50 cities in 27 countries across the globe. The stories are consolidated based on the following four concepts:
An international paper that crosses over Japan and the world
An informative paper that acts as a platform for the young generation
A peoples' paper that gives a voice to the diverse ‘normal'
A post entertainment paper that reaches the off-centered
The magazine consists of three sections: ‘international', ‘real life' (domestic topics) and ‘backbeat' (entertainment). Big Issue looks closely into diverse social issues and the people behind them. It goes one step further by offering ideas for solutions to these problems.
We view our readers as socially aware, optimistic and the future opinion leaders of our country. Typical readers of the Big Issue magazine are young people who have concerns about social issues and have the potential of becoming opinion leaders. Sixty-four percent of our readers are female and nearly 60% of our readers are between twenty and forty years of age.
While it is generally believed that people in their 20s and 30s have long working hours and do not have regular contact with media such as television and newspaper, Big Issue's approach is to target these people directly through contacts on the street and commuter stations during their travel time.
What our readers say
When I see the vendors working hard to sell the magazine, it gives me so much energy which encourages me to work hard too, even when I feel tired. (HA/19/Higashinada, Hyogo)
The pages are in color and have the quality of any other magazine. I like the layout of the cover, too. (AM/22/Anjo, Aichi)
I am looking forward to reading more stories on social issues that are never taken on in the mainstream and interviews about interesting people. (JU/27/Funabashi, Chiba )
The vendors are so nice and it makes me feel warm when I see them on the way home from work. (KM/30/Yokohama, Kanagawa)
Your story ‘Wearing a camouflage T-shirt' from the 7 th issue made me think hard and became interested in the issue. (NY/33/Suginami, Tokyo )
When I thought to myself, ‘What is Big Issue?' I concluded that it would be ‘anti-exclusion' or ‘anti-isolation' in simple terms. (CD/35/Osaka)
One day I ran into a vendor collecting litters on a scarcely populated street. I was quite impressed with his commitment to do the right thing as a person. (MK/40/Osaka)
The stories are very profound, thorough, and progressive; it is well worth 200 yen. (TO/49/Ibaraki)
I was interested in the magazine ever since I saw it on a TV news program. I was really moved when I actually saw a vendor at Ogikubo Station. (FK/57/Suginami, Tokyo )