Kateigaho has been a guilty secret of mine for several years now. It’s an “Arts & Culture” magazine that published its first issue in the summer of 2003 and has been putting out a new issue four times a year since then. The magazine is large format and generally has around 170 full color, glossy pages. Since it’s published in and distributed from Japan, it also has that nice, Japanese magazine smell.
Unlike other English language magazines about Japan, such as Metropolis, Tokyo Journal, and Kansai Time Out, Kateigaho is as professional as professional can be. As the full title of the magazine (Kateigaho International Edition) suggests, it’s the international edition of a famous Japanese lifestyle magazine, Kateigahō (家庭画報), a catchy title that might translate as something like “Home Art Information,” implying that art can be enjoyed within the home (via the magazine), that art can be enjoyed by the entire family, and that the home itself can be a site for art. In any event, the magazine’s target audience, both in English and in Japanese, are wealthy men and women who are interested in the finer points of Japanese life. The adds sparsely scattered throughout the magazine are not for seedy escort services or English teaching positions but rather for Mikimoto, Clinique, and Louis Vuitton.
It’s true that most people will be able to afford very few of the pleasures extolled by the magazine: hotels that cost hundreds of dollars per person per night, exquisite dining at the top of skyscrapers, the unique works of master artists and craftsmen. Just because the lifestyle is out of your price range, however, doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the magazine. The photographs are absolutely amazing and perhaps Kateigaho’s main selling point. The writing, although translated, is not the least bit unnatural, and every once in awhile there will be an original article by someone like Alex Kerr or Tom Mes. The magazine contains all sorts of detailed information about traditional and contemporary Japanese culture, lifestyle, and the performing and visual arts.
I’m mentioning Kateigaho now because the new issue will be on sale today (June 1). If you’re in Japan, you can pick up a copy at all major bookstores (like Maruzen or Yūrindō). In America, you can find the magazine at most Japanese language bookstores, like the Kinokuniya chain. If you’re interested in back issues, the easiest way to obtain them is through Amazon.co.jp, which is surprisingly easy to use, even if you can’t read Japanese.
Check out Kateigaho International’s website, too!