The Kimono: Russian magazine on modern Japan aims to bolster ties


The Kimono, a Russian magazine introducing entertainment, tourism, food, business and other aspects of modern Japan is attracting a growing readership.

Its chief editor, Ekaterina Stepanova, said she hopes the magazine “will help make relations between Russia and Japan closer, warmer and more brilliant.”

Launched in October 2016, the only magazine focusing on modern Japan in Russia is released every other month or so. It was initially available only online, but a print edition has been offered since January 2018. Following global trends, Russia has been shifting toward ebooks and electronic magazines.

The print edition has reached its 19th issue.

Priced at 350 rubles, or about ¥590, the print edition can be bought in cities including Moscow, St. Petersburg — the country’s second-largest city — and the central city of Yekaterinburg. It has a circulation of 5,000 copies.

Stepanova, 35, lived in Japan for more than three years from 2012 after she married to a Japanese man.

“I wanted to read a Russian-language magazine featuring modern culture and fashion in Japan but could not find any,” she said. “Then I decided to start one on my own.”

The magazine’s office in Moscow has a staff of six, all Russians, who edit, design, conduct public relations and do other work. The staff members are all interested in Japan and some of them studied about the country as students.

The most successful issue so far, in February 2019, explored modern Japanese films from different angles and included interviews with people from the entertainment industry, including director Kiyoshi Kurosawa, who participated in a Japanese film festival in Moscow.

“The issue sold out in a week,” Stepanova said.

The Kimono also carries articles by Russians living in Japan, introducing trendy cafes and other popular places in Tokyo as well as tourists sites elsewhere, along with pictures.

The magazine is also planning to organize a sightseeing tour in Japan this year.

“In the next two years, we want to build a Japanese art center where people can enjoy meals, watch Japanese films and appreciate Japanese art,” Stepanova said.



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