Vol.1 September, 2005 issue

This first edition was created through a series of trial and error as if molding clay in the dark. Looking at it now, I can see how perplexed I was with both the content and design. However, there is also a freshness not detected in the editions to follow. The process of polishing the design with an Art Director (AD) had already begun in this edition. Several illustrations by Kaoru Hironoka were considered for the cover, and our AD Nishihara and I had different choices. We decided on the one chosen by Nishihara. I was right to trust his taste.

Vol.2 March, 2006 issue

The photography of the Mizushima Coastal Industrial Zone taken by Yurie Nagashima embodies this edition. I can still recall how deeply moved I was when the photographs were developed. There was a long deliberation over how to present the photographs, since the work itself was so wonderful. Settling on Yurie's bold suggestion to show five photographs taken from the same angle on ten consecutive pages influenced the set up of KJ and its features from this edition on. "Do as you like without hesitating." This is a memorable edition in which this attitude was clearly spelled out.

Vol.3 September, 2006 issue

None of the other issues were able to top the idea of presentation adopted in this issue. That is how very pleased I am with the idea of introducing the collection owned by Ohara Museum of Art through children’s drawings. I thanked God at once when I finally came up with this plan after deliberating over it for quite a while. The qualities of the children’s drawings were excellent, far beyond what I had expected. To choose these children, I took the trouble of visiting workshops and art classes. The result of a divine idea combined with extreme care. I cannot help but feel proud of my efforts and personal contribution to this issue.

Vol.4 March, 2007 issue

All the money borrowed from the bank for the three previous editions were gone and I left Tokyo to settle in Kurashiki for a new start. The AD was succeeded by Taoru Suzuki, who resides in Okayama.  Despite the lack of funds, I invited four composers and photographers to create in Shimotsui and I went on a fashion shoot to Poland. I was editing the magazine totally free of worries at the time.  I even created an original CD," Shimotsui," which was an arrangement of the local song, "Shimotsui Bushi," to go along with the feature article on Shimotsui. By the way, there is an abundant supply of this CD sitting in our storage room even today.

Vol.5 September, 2007 issue

An attempt to create something completely different like the "Ecology White Papers" was this edition on Ecology. I can only recall tough moments. It was difficult during preparations like conducting surveys and pre-study for interviews. Writing the article was even harder work. So stressful I found blood in my urine (later diagnosed as kidney stones). I began working an early part time shift at an inn in Kojima right before this edition came out. This was pretty heavy labor, too.  By the time we were able to distribute this edition, my body fat percentage had gone below 10%.

Vol.6 March, 2008 issue

This is an edition collecting the mysteries of Kurashiki. I was thinking more along the lines of psychic phenomena and superstitions, but the feature article turned out a lot more serious than expected, leaving the cartoon a bit out of place. However, not being able to play it cool all the way like "BRUTUS" magazine is the dear thing about KJ. The fashion pages were shot at our second London shoot. The pound was extremely strong (about 250 Yen), and I experienced a strong sense of underprivilegedness.

Vol.7 September, 2008 issue

Ryu Watanabe, our third AD, came on board with this edition. The layout of the twenty feature pages showing cafes in Kurashiki, one after another, would not come out just right and, for the first time, we requested a second proof from our printers.  Exercising my authority as Editor-in-Chief, dramatic changes were made in that second proof. Taking the heat was Ryu the AD. His first job turned into a nightmare. The models Zhou and Jiajia who appear in the fashion pages are Chinese trainees I worked with at the inn. We still keep in touch exchanging mails.

Vol.8 March, 2009 issue

This photography issue turned into the greatest project in the history of KJ. "Would you come and take pictures for us?" I wrote to Mr. Daido Moriyama, and it took one and a half years to finally happen.  Yurie Nagashima, Takashi Yasumura, Roland Hagenberg, and Okayama’s own Masahiro Ikeda. Publishing original photographs of Kurashiki by these five photographers in one magazine. I myself am amazed how a free magazine was able to pull this off. By the way, my encounter with Mr. Yasumura for this edition led to working on the "Chiho-jin Sengen" (Declaration of Local People) for the 130th anniversary of Sanyo Shinbun together.

Vol.9 September, 2009 issue

A feature story of a totally simple, totally limited world. I have always wanted to do this since it is usually not done in a magazine. Trio Diner exactly fit these conditions. Its appearance, the people who worked there, the food served, and the regular customers, each and every aspect had first-class appeal to an editor.  There was even a perfect story behind the name of the diner. Among all the issues, KJ’s concept to "introduce the attraction of a provincial city" was realized in the most enjoyable manner in this one. I am proud that I was able to mold this issue into one with such a distinct flavor.

Vol.10 March, 2010 issue

About six months before beginning to shoot for this issue, I spent my piggy bank savings that I had kept for two years to purchase a makina67. The choice of camera and the idea of me taking all the photographs for the cover story was all following Mr. Takashi Yasumura’s suggestion. When I asked him "would you be in charge of the photographs for our last issue?" His reply was "why don’t you take them yourself?" Now that was something I had never thought of before. Upswings and downswings on the out come of the developments continued for nine months. Even so, I am truly glad I took on the task myself.