I don’t remember how I first heard that there was such a thing as Japanese stationery magazines, and I’m not even sure if “magazine” is the right word for them. The first one I’d heard of was a series of numbered volumes called “Note and Diary Style Book.” I searched for them on Amazon Japan, and printed out the results. I brought it to the Kinokuniya Bookstore in Manhattan, which has a huge selection of Japanese books and magazines. The first time I went, the sales clerk said “Wow, we don’t carry these, but we really should!” Given Kinokuniya’s large stationery department, I quite agreed.
When I went back and asked again recently, I had better luck. The clerk said they did not have the exact ones listed on Amazon, but she showed me a few similar items, and I bought these ones. One of them seems to be a compilation of the best notebook, pen and stationery products of the year. The other one seems more like a magazine with feature pages on different stationery stores and pen manufacturers. They are sort of like catalogs, or perhaps trade journals for the Japanese stationery and pen industry. There are pages in the one with no English title that list various stationery stores. The MonoMax one seems more catalog-like, so I wondered if MonoMax might be a store, but from a little googling, it seems like it’s a magazine that covers various products. From browsing at Kinokuniya, I’ve noticed that there seem to be a lot of Japanese magazines that focus on fashion and accessories, sometimes a single product like backpacks, with just tons and tons of photos of various backpacks that are trendy in Japan. I can’t really think of any American equivalent that so single-mindedly hones in on a single product. We have some magazines with pretty specific topics for niche audiences, especially in terms of trade journals, but I don’t think we have any consumer magazines that just showcase backpacks! As for notebooks and pens, there is a magazine called Pen World, and trade journals called “Stationery” (may be defunct now as last issue I could find is over a year old) and “Stationery Trends,” but “Stationery Magazine” is Japanese.
Anyway, here’s some of the eye-candy from within these two publications. If anyone can read Japanese and can add more explanation, please do so in the comments! I will also give these two magazines away if anyone wants them. I’ll select two random winners from any comments on this post that express interest in the giveaway. The deadline to comment and enter is Friday July 10, 2015 at 11:59 Eastern time.