Review of FRUiTS magazine. See unconventional, colorful, and sometimes wild street fashion and hairstyles of young people in Japan (mainly Harajuku, Tokyo).
Reviewed on: July 26, 1999 Last modified: 2005-04-03 Published: Monthly on the 23rd Publisher: Street Henshu-shitsu Price in Japan: ¥525 Size: B5, 77 pp. Language: Japanese
Anyone visiting Tokyo for the first time should walk around Harajuku, Japan's center of teenage fashion. Along with neighboring Shibuya, it is a great place for people watching. Harajuku's street culture received a major setback a few years ago when the police department abolished the Sunday "pedestrian paradise" which was a major road closed off to traffic in favor of pedestrians and street musicians.
However, the Harajuku culture is still alive and well. The area (especially the narrow alley called Takeshita-dori and the broad Omotesando) is still a magnet for Japanese youth. It is also a street fashion runway for self expression. Shocking pink hair, floppy platform shoes, pierced lips and noses, and home-made fashion of all kinds are modeled and paraded by real-life, wanna-be-different boys and girls.
This monthly magazine shows some of the "best-dressed" teenagers mainly in Harajuku and sometimes in other cities in Japan. Most are young girls. They are posed standing or sitting on the street, alone or with their friend. Apparently, the photographer stopped them on the street and asked to snap a picture. All the photos are in color and occupy a full page. Although it's not a thick magazine, it's a good value at 500 yen with high-quality printing.
Each photo has a caption (Japanese only) identifying each fashion item worn by the subject. This part is for informational purposes only and it does not seem to serve as advertisement. It might read, "Hair stylist: My friend" or "Shoes: My mom's."
The magazine has few distracting ads, making it very easy to thumb through. The middle pages of the magazine show letters from readers, interviews, or fashion-related articles.
Also, the magazine now accepts overseas subscriptions. You can subscribe to Fruits at the FRUiTS Web site in English. (Reviewed by Philbert Ono)
FRUiTS No. 01 - No. 50 (CD-ROM)
Review of FRUiTS CD-ROM. CD-ROM containing entire back issues of FRUiTS magazine from issue No. 1 (July 1997) to No. 50 (July 2001). All the pages are in PDF format.
Reviewed on: 2002-03-17 Last modified: 2005-04-03 Published: 2001-07 Publisher: Street Henshu-shitsu Price in Japan: ¥10,000 Size: Hybrid CD-ROM for both Windows 98 or higher or Macintosh OS 8.6 or higher Language: Japanese and English
Ever since Phaidon Press in the UK published the FRUiTS photo book in June 2001, the number of subscriptions we have received for FRUiTS magazine (reviewed above) has shot up. At Amazon.com, over 20 customer reviews have been posted for that book. I'm amazed at this sudden attention to what has existed in Tokyo for years. PhotoGuide Japan's review of FRUiTS magazine has been online since 1999 and it never drew much attention until now.
It's nice to see people outside Japan discovering the human side of Japan, rather than just cars, cameras, televisions, and other products associated with Japan. Note that there are still many other fascinating things about Japan which few Westerners know about. We do need more Western publishers to publish books like FRUiTS and more Japanese authors and photographers to present their work in other languages. Of course, PhotoGuide Japan will continue to present information and images about these little-known but fascinating things about Japan as well.
Harajuku has always been Japan's teen capital and a hotbed for teen fashion in constant transition. In the late 1970s, there was the Takenoko-zoku (Bamboo Tribe) boom. These were teenyboppers dressed in American '50s style clothes dancing to '50s rock and roll music on the street (closed off to traffic on Sundays). That was a blast, and a great way to spend a sunny Sunday.
In more recent years, we have seen the "cos-play" (costume players) boom where the kids make and wear costumes modeled after their favorite comic book character or video game character. At Jingu-bashi Bridge near Harajuku Station, you can still see female fans in costumes mimicking their favorite Japanese rock group like X-Japan. And at the same time, all these kids you see in FRUiTS are walking around on the streets.
If you liked the FRUiTS photo book and want to see more, you can subscribe to the magazine. And if you want to know what you have been missing since July 1997 when the first issue of FRUiTS came out, you can order this CD-ROM. It contains issues No. 1 to No. 50 (July 1997 to July 2001). Each issue is provided in its entirety--you see every page (including advertisements) that was in the original paper magazine. Each issue has 82 pages and about 60 full-page color portraits.
The CD-ROM is in the PDF format. Since it is a hybrid CD-ROM, it is compatible with both Windows (98/Me/2000/XP) and Macintosh (OS 8.6 or higher). You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 to view the magazine pages. Acrobat 5.05 (both the English and Japanese versions) is provided in the CD-ROM. If you have an earlier version of Acrobat, you will have to uninstall it and then install the 5.0 version. The CD-ROM's Read Me file is in both Japanese and English.
It's very easy to navigate through the CD-ROM. The Table of Contents provides thumbnails of all 50 issues and you just click on the issue you want to view. Each issue also has thumbnails of each page which you click to jump to that page. You can also scroll down to see all the pages in sequence. The pages are the same size as the original magazine, but you probably have to scale down the images so they fit on your computer screen.
Acrobat's convenient zoom feature enables you to zoom up on the picture or text. Although the image starts to pixelate noticeably at 200% zoom view, the small text (Japanese only) still looks perfect.
Since each issue costs 525 yen (including tax), you receive 26,250 yen worth of magazines for only 10,000 yen (in Japan). You get a total of about 3,000 color portraits (60 per issue). The CD-ROM makes viewing really convenient and saves you a lot of space. It's worth the price.
You can now order this CD-ROM directly from the magazine at their FRUiTS Web site in English. (Reviewed by Philbert Ono)
Also see Phaidon Press for sample photos from FRUiTS photo book.