If you believe the common arguments offered on this blog, the magazine Cyzo should not exist. I’m always barking about “no criticism” in the Japanese press, and Momus claims that this is because the Japanese are extremely satisfied with their society and culture. Well, Cyzo is a very popular monthly magazine that casually scatters, smothers, covers, chunks, tops, and dices the Japanese culture industries without drifting into the heavy conspiracy angle of underground publications like Uwasa no Shinsou. Cyzo is satire and dissent at its slickest — and most cheerful.
For all of their brave bashing of the entertainment/media cabal, the magazine still navigates very narrow waters. They’ve been sued by new religions and Nigo for saying mean things. And the huge talent agencies have pretty much blocked them from getting top-tier bikini models for their covers. (After several articles trashing Orange Range’s melodic thievery, they are no longer welcome friends to Stardust Production.) No matter, they get all the best talent from the outsider networks and great access to anonymous insiders. If Cyzo were published in English, my blog would most likely become obsolete, seeing that my most “controversial” positions are just lifted and recycled from this alternative media world.
Some articles from this month’s issue:
• Article on how the music business has tried to destroy the upstart chaku-uta (downloadable ringtones) industry.
• A conversation with three major stylists to the stars. A telling quote about A Bathing Ape: “Now, the only people who buy Bape are young students coming to Tokyo on field trips, but it’s really big right now in New York as a hip-hop brand.”
• Small article bemoaning the possibility of having to deal with an endless lifetime of Tsuji Nozomi and Kago Ai (Morning Musume/W members) on TV.
• Article on Matsuda Seiko and her daughter’s fall-out that highlights a lot of music industry politics. For example, the daughter Sayaka has run to industry “don” Suho Ikuo (Burning Pro) to protect her, and the magazine speculates that the recent press on the incident was pay-back for Matsuda’s disrespect of Suhou’s friend in the past.
• Small article on people who record the backstage chatter of idol concerts.
• Komuro Family: Where are they now?
• Large article on how Japan’s top subtitler Toda Natsuko keeps messing up the translation for big American movies, with exposition on how the subtitling industry works.
• Story on how Nara Prefecture has started a “Deai-kei” mail magazine to help counter the fall in childbirths.
Any interesting side note: Talking to a freelance reporter, he told me that the debates on 2-ch give magazines most of their ideas for stories. So when they write about pakuri or translation mistakes, etc., they generally report “Everyone on 2-ch is up in arms about…” as a way to not get themselves in trouble for opening up the issue themselves. This is a very intriguing role for the Japanese internet.