Kyoto Journal is a non-profit magazine focused on “society, beliefs, traditions and new developments through a lens of Asian experience.” The magazine has contributors share Asian insights in the form of special features and interviews as well as creative writing and reviews and more. The name Kyoto Journal is a physical location, as well as “a place of deep spiritual and cultural heritage, and has been the measure of such things here in Japan for more than a millennium…Essentially, Kyoto Journal is a community that transcends place, while respecting and celebrating regional and local identity.”
How did you get involved with Kyoto Journal? What made you want to become a part of the Kyoto Journalteam? How did the journal start?
I actually had the privilege of helping to found KJ, back in 1985. An active writers’ group of mostly expats had formed here in Kyoto, meeting at the photographer/editor John Einarsen’s house. We soon realized that in our diversity of interests, we had the basis of a magazine.
All of us had been living here in Japan long enough to have realized that most mainstream Western media presentations at that time lacked a nuanced appreciation of the cultural richness and depth that we saw around us. Reportage was generally Tokyo-centric, and either absurdly sensationalized or heavily exoticized. (This hasn’t changed all that much, by the way…) We wanted to create an independent alternative to this superficial coverage, to better reflect aspects of the Japan that we were learning about — avoiding the academic esoterica of publications at the other end of the scale, and the narrow confines of primarily “literary” content. We w