Creating a Business Magazine With Culture Through Dissatisfaction, Discomfort and Love
Creating “IT’S OUR BUSINESS!”, a business magazine that brings out cultural characteristics.
Loftwork, together with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, produced the business magazine “IT’S OUR BUSINESS!” with the goal of designing and prototyping projects to expand the base of innovation in 2021.
The magazine was produced by editor Hitoko Hirano (HEAPS), who conducted in-depth interviews with eight entrepreneurs, email interviews with another 18 entrepreneurs and roundtable discussions with 17 young people across Gen Y and Gen Z.
Although projects marking the third year of the Reiwa in Tokyo in 2021 were canceled in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the magazine was distributed for free, sharing perspectives that helped the city’s activities.
The project began at the same time as the arrival of the pandemic. During the course of the project, the relationship between life and work, urban and rural and local and global values changed dramatically. However, it became clear that the trigger for the birth of new values in any situation wasn’t hard to find and that some things remain constant despite the circumstances.
“IT’S OUR BUSINESS!” aims to inspire people living in cities to find a new way of doing business. The project started with the question, “Why does the word ‘entrepreneur’ seem to have nothing to do with me?”. As it proceeded to unravel the word “entrepreneurship”, the theme of “locality” – something rooted in the person – came to light. Rather than aiming for something large-scale, we interviewed people who ran their businesses in sizes and manners that were comfortable for them and created a business magazine that allows readers to freely explore work, business, entrepreneurship and innovation from a variety of angles.
This magazine is provided under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). Anyone can reproduce and redistribute the material in any media or format as long as they comply with the license.
Project period: April 2020 – March 2021
- Client: Tokyo Metropolitan Government Strategic Policy and Information Promotion Division (currently Digital Services Bureau)
- Producer: Ryuki Inoue,Shotaro Katsura (Loftwork)
- Magazine planner: Sako Hirano (HEAPS)
- Editors: Sako Hirano (HEAPS), Daiki Tsutsumi (loftwork)
- Assistant Editor: Takumi Watanabe
- Art direction / Graphic Design: AYOND
- Creative director: Rin Togo (Loftwork)
- Writers: Sako Hirano (HEAPS), Chinami Hachisuka, Daiki Mine
- Photographer: Shiori Ikeno, Kana Tarumi, Hayato Takahashi
- Printing / binding: Fujiwara Printing Co.
- Project Manager: Kazuma Kitao (Loftwork)
On Publishing The Business Magazine
Innovation = Locality
“IT’S OUR BUSINESS!” Editor-in-Chief, SAKO HIRANO from HEAPS
What is “innovation”?
This is a phrase that is widely used, but when you think about it, it’s difficult to grasp in reality.
It’s like a person you know, but who you’ve never really spoken to.
When I wonder where this distance comes from, I want to know
I guess it comes from the fact that I work in media, and there’s a “business magazine”
No business magazine is like a cultural magazine; it’s more like a friend or elder
There’s an outspoken boundary between men and women, and to be honest, it doesn’t feel right to say “after the 00s” in an obvious way
As such, I wanted to find a magazine that I could feel familiar with, something I could read.
I thought, why not create a business magazine that is easier to understand, more readable and more substantive?
To provide new systems, values and meaningful plans for improvement to work
You just need to add the words “innovation” and “new business”
When you add “innovation” or “new business” to work that proposes new and convincing improvements to systems and values, some things become invisible in the blink of an eye, and as such, the distance seems to have been created.
In the beginning and during the process, there must be a moment of familiar problems and ideas.
Every question, doubt, feeling of discomfort, guideline, love, relations and so on
Using “locality” (something rooted in the person) as the axis
Innovation, using air to renew the times
I want to confirm the feelings of the connection between individual, life, culture, and
I want to try and understand it through my own perspective and my own words
IT’S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS (nothing to do with you)
IT’S NONE OF MY BUSINESS (nothing to do with me）
From this angle
From “it’s none of your business” to “it’s none of my business”, you can freely explore and not be taught
Starting from the angle of “it’s none of my business”, it’s like you can freely explore and not be taught, try to get closer to work, business, entrepreneurship, innovation.
You can read it from the top, from the middle, from anywhere
And when you open it again, you will find something new and receive confirmation anew
The feature article is a very, very long Q&A.
You can put it on your desk, in your kitchen or in the bathroom, and
You may want to flip through it whenever you feel like it or share it with your friends
I hope that it will become this type of business magazine.
Table of Contents
Features: Very, Very Long Interviews
Shoko Ryuzaki (Hotel Producer) / Eru Akazawa (Fashion Brand Director)
Why am I an entrepreneur? Dissatisfaction, Dreams, Uncomfortable Feelings, Answers
Soma Suzuki (Urban Analysis / Researcher)
“There is No 100%” Between Science, Sensibility and Logic: The Long Journeys of Researchers and Entrepreneurs
Buta Terao (Japanese/Taiwanese music producer)
“Small Economies Zone” DIY. “Try and Fail”: Asia’s Independent Music Scene
Naohiro Niiyama (Intown Designer) / Kazutaka Mori (Project Manager)
Becoming “a Member of This Town” and Not a Member of Tens of Thousands. You Can Find Cultivation From “Nothing”
Kimi Tsuchiya (Food Director)
The Things You Can Do Because You Are “A Food Store”. The “Delicious!” Of Food Directors Who Makes The Most of Food From Various Food Professionals
Tomoma Odagiri (Saturday Factory)
“What to Make and How to Make it”: Combining Craftsmanship and Resources to go Beyond Manufacturing.
IT'S OUR THINGS!
11PM, EPISTROPH, THE ROOT BEER JOURNEY, Eel’s Bed, 4Nature, Bookstore Lighthouse, Tomo Cola, ITONAMI, Culture University TOKYO
- The Night Before the Long Interview: U-25 Roundtable Discussion
“Not Far, But Not Close Either: The Distance to Entrepreneurship XXX”
- A Book and a Line as a Good Luck Charm, Sometimes Placed
Kazuya Sano, Xiaoxiayo Chen, Sanjiro Minato, Fumi Goda, Kenta Kawara, Daichi Isogawa, Yuya Yoshida, Shohei Koyama, Daiki Tsutsumi
How to read the magazine
Of course you can read the book carefully in order, but we recommend you open it to wherever you feel like and read the parts that interest you.
Even if it’s just one paragraph, we’ve tried to structure the book in a way that you’ll be able to find something new or reconfirm something. Please feel free to open the book and read only the parts that interest you.
In our business magazine, we list out innovative people who propose new values.
“People who propose new systems, values and ideas for improvement that make sense to them.”
“People who renew with the atmosphere of the times, based on their own questions, doubts, feelings of discomfort, guiding principles, love, relationships and other ‘localities’”.
In the course of defining the above, the project gave us the opportunity to ask ourselves if we are living, working and acting in the same way.
As a magazine, we want to tell people what innovative means, but we also need to embody it ourselves.
Although the project is now over, we wanted to turn “IT’S OUR BUSINESS!” into an activity with this in mind.
*This is an activity held between Loftwork, “IT’S OUR BUSINESS!” editor-in-chief Hitoko Hirano, and external members.
Limited to 1,000 printed copies, distributed at various TAKE FREE locations each month.
When the team thought about how to distribute the articles, they thought that it would be best to look at it from the perspective of familiarity – “You can put it on your desk, in your kitchen or in the bathroom, and you may want to flip through it whenever you feel like it or share it with your friends”. The easiest way to do this is on paper. The result was a free business magazine with over 100 pages. The team printed 1,000 copies.
Instead of distributing the magazines all at once in bulk, the team planned to distribute them little by little, hunting down places to distribute them every month, with the hope of bringing the reader joy.
Click here for information on distribution and future activities:
Launch of the "IT'S OUR BUSINESS!" store
For those who can’t wait to read the magazine, it is also available as a free PDF.
And for those who live too far away to go to a physical distribution point but would still like to see the book in paper form, the team set up a system to issue 200 paper copies as soon as they are reserved, at the price of the costs of printing and postage.
The team is also planning to add more “IT’S OUR BUSINESS!” items to our range as they continue with the activities. Visitors are welcome to visit from time to time.
Launch of a newsletter
The “IT’S OUR BUSINESS!” newsletter comes out once a week and draws from the localities of its team members.
– IT’S OUR BUSINESS!”: Small pieces of the team members’ localities that they have recently discovered.
– “OUR THINGS!”: A report on the team’s activities, an introduction to the month’s recipients, the activities of our members, and an introduction to the shops and activities with a good approach that the team has recently discovered.
Locality is all around us, but it’s not always easy to notice. Through the different perspectives of the team members, the newsletter brings the reader the moments when locality is brought out in their lives.
*You can also register by downloading the PDF version of “IT’S OUR BUSINESS!”
Click here to register for the newsletter.
"IT'S OUR BUSINESS!” Members
“IT’S OUR BUSINESS!” is a collaborative project by the following teams. In addition to sharing information, each team member works on projects that explore localities and transform them into a sustainable system. The results are then shared on social media and in the newsletter.
Creative Director, Loftwork / Representative, Design no Tobira / Graphic Recorder
Born in Kanazawa. After working as a designer for a general electronics manufacturer, she joined Loftwork. She is interested in creating places and things where people can show their strengths and highlights. She also works as a graphic recorder as she is extremely skilled in visualizing information. She planned and managed “Design no Tobira”, an activity to teach parents and children about the concept of design and how to look at things. For this project, she won the 2020 Kids Design Award from the Japan Institute of Design. She likes apples and sake.
Editor-in-Chief, PORTLA / President, Eat, Play, Sleep inc. / Creative Director, Loftwork
He started the web magazine ANTENNA in 2013 with the idea that “there should be a media format like this in Kansai”. In 2016, he left his job at a kimono wholesaler to join Loftwork. In 2020, he founded Eat, Play, Sleep inc., a culture production company, in response to the increasing number of requests for his personal work, and in 2021, he left the editor-in-chief position of ANTENNA to his successor and launched PORTLA, a media company focused on the theme of “travel and culture”, becoming its editor-in-chief. He has a strong ego, and his specialty is planning and editing. With the help of all the people involved, he is enjoying a life full of discoveries and mistakes.
At the age of 21, she moved to the U.S. by herself, and since 2015 she has been the editor-in-chief of HEAPS MAGAZINE, a cultural magazine that observes the edges of the world and the glimpses that exist there, as well as interviews unique individuals from around the world to deliver original coverage of important events. Currently based in New York and Tokyo, she runs HEAPS Corporation, which manages the magazine and its projects and makes use of the worldwide network she has cultivated through the production of the magazine. Her favorite food is Norimaki.
Producer, LW / Representative, YATAI UNIT PROJECT / Representative, Gou ni Iruruzu / President, tameno
Born in Oita Prefecture. After graduating from an industrial high school and working at a huge factory, he planned and managed the mobile food stall project “YATAI UNIT”, which involved everyone around him. He also works in the regional editing unit of “Go Ni Iruru Zu” based in MAD City in Matsudo, Chiba Prefecture. In his hometown of Oita Prefecture, he runs the creative group “tameno,” which focuses on manufacturing, and plans to work with a wide variety of businesses to create things for others.
Born in Osaka. After graduating from graduate school and working at an apiary, he joined Loftwork Inc. As a project manager, he is involved in a wide range of projects and practices local project design.
If you have any such requests for this team or its members, please do not hesitate to contact us.