The Demise of Ageha, Happie Nuts, I Love Mama, Ane Ageha and Egg

inforest-ageha-nuts

The demise of In Forest (インフォレスト) publishing company which is responsible for publishing Ageha (小悪魔ageha), Happie Nuts, I Love Mama, and Ane Ageha came as a shock.

Original article: here | Translated by Yui here

Now it’s coming to light that the next Egg issue will be its last. The publishing company, Taiyo Taisho, which does mostly Boys Love comics is not closing but they’re removing their fashion publishing arm.

Bankrupt in Japan means Dead

But all bankruptcies in Japan come as a shock. How bankruptcies are dealt with in Japan vs. Western countries is very different. Even though bankruptcy laws in America and Japan are similar, Japanese companies run into trouble trying to secure operating capital. Also Japanese companies usually announce bankruptcy when they are ceasing operations and have no choice but to close and sell the pieces.

“why so many stricken firms in Japan hang on, almost lifeless, for so long…In Japan, companies would rather run themselves into the ground than admit that they need court protection. By the time Japanese companies have no option but to go into bankruptcy”
The Economist

So let’s just get this out of the way. In Forest is done and any hope of Ageha, Happie Nuts, I love Mama, and Ane Ageha coming back as is highly unlikely. They had been struggling for months, maybe years in the red before this bankruptcy came upon them.

The underlining of all the magazine closures

1. Magazine Publishing in a fickle industry. New magazines pop up and die every year. Back in 2009 when the economy took a hit many magazines such as ES! POSSSSH, Vanilla and Cawaii all fell.

2. In all of these cases the magazines reacted too slow to changing tastes. I don’t care how many reblogs a kurogyaru gets on tumblr, the amount is lessening. Even the changes in gal style were very slow to be reflected in any magazine. Sure they hopped on mode, but what about sweet or retro styles?

3. Magazines were very slow to react to the rise of smartphones and higher internet usage. They feared digital and their websites were complicated or basic flip-phone friendly. Also the rise of fashion blogging in Japan is ignored mostly in magazines. Many shop staff, models and regular girls have gotten popular because of their blogs. Magazines have been slow to make websites for fashion and hire a group of cute “dokumo” style bloggers to do posts for them. Vivi finally started with Vivi girls (http://vivi.tv/).

Taste changes:

In a lot of cases I read people react to this news especially with Egg magazine is people said “Even though I stopped reading it, I’m sad it died.”

Why’d you stop reading it? Probably your tastes changed. You’re probably not alone. Egg, Ageha and others were too slow to react to that. Popteen was slow but came around. It realized with K-Pop boom, the Idol boom and general relaxing after too much was what people’s tastes wanted.

hairset-now

Plain silky styles for hairset in the current and last Ageha. When Ageha was bought by every hair-make salon in Japan it’s slowly becoming a non-factor.

Gyaru is and yet it wasn’t:

It’s amazing how many girls I’ve met in Japan who have nails, hair done, circle lens in and eyeliner overline any gyaru would be proud of and they say they’re not gal.

Partially it’s because the gyaru way of doing make-up has slowly moved in many genres of fashion in Japan. Magazines such as Cutie, Sweet, Vivi, L’Arme, Kera and other magazines show circle lens and lash options and even nose shading.

The other half is that 2009 uber-tanned girl is still what a lot of girls consider gal. Especially those who did it. And yet they’ll still be in flashy nails, eyelashes and make-up. It’s a conundrum. But magazines adapted for them, but people felt no kinship with them versus other magazines.

In Forest went bankrupt because…

In Forest went bankrupt because it diversified too much. Couldn’t Ageha have just had an Ane Ageha section devoted to older lovers of the style and made people happy? How many sales did the 4 times a year published Nuts Hair Make actually make? Was it really necessary when there’s always a make-up and hair section in every Nuts magazine? I Love Mama was a smart idea and no doubt that new mamas are on the rise, but did it need to come out every month?

In Forest went bankrupt because it paid too many models. There are two types of models in regular magazines Japan: dokusha (読者モデル) and senzoku (専属モデル). Dokusha models (shortened to dokumo) have risen from street snaps to become regular models. They bring their own clothes and mostly do it for free. Senzoku models are exclusive models that get paid a stipend and are special to that magazine. Ageha had how many senzoku models? Rin, Sakurina, Aizawa Emiri, etc…

Plus last year it gave away 10,000,000 yen (100,000$) to the winners of a senzoku model search. (mdpr article). Now I’m not saying it needed to never pay a model, but it was definitely throwing money at talent.

In Forest went bankrupt because Ageha completely forgot about clothes and Happie Nuts repeated its clothing  Ageha’s Shingeki no Kyojin make-up is hilariously great, but it does not sell advertising dollars. Last issue of Ageha only had 6 pages of clothing. Clothing makers give clothes and pay for ad space. It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement, but one Ageha forgot about. Even though three models have gone on to clothing lines (Rady, Michell Macaron and Princess Melody). They really ignored the biggest ad revenue in magazines.

Even their make-up articles don’t often recommend one eyeliner or blush brand over another. Usually in magazines such as Cutie and Vivi models will be using the eyeliner you just saw an ad for. That’s the synergy and ways magazines make money.

shingeki Awesome, but doesn’t sell clothes or make-up.

 Happie Nuts fashion-wise limited themselves. In the most recent and final issue I saw outfits being repeated.

nuts-resort nuts-resort2

This resort top would look great with your resort top.

Not only that top, several items I saw over and over. I use magazines to show me new clothing releases and yet Nuts only showed a handful but repeated.

yui-diaper

Styling off again. Yui is gorgeous, but she’s in a diaper.

Final thoughts…

I find it a shame these magazines have gone away, but I’m not surprised because magazines didn’t adapt.

nuts-makeup-help

In a case of too little too late Happie Nuts did an amazing article of 12 face problems and how to address it. Pimples, bulbous noses, small eyes, too much jaw. Everyday concerns people have and real ways to deal with them. It was a wonderful section. One of the best make-up sections I’ve read. However their fashion section was simply repetitive and basic.

nuts-boring

None of these outfits jump off the page for you? Me neither. They’re too basic and boring. Prints are very popular this season and yet barely are making an impact here.

ageha-weightloss

Ageha had only a tiny weight loss and exercise section which was an insert in this month’s, when I think a bigger eating right and exercise section would really benefit Ageha which moved away from fashion and went to lifestyle. Also a pet section and big purchases, things upwardly mobile women would want in a LIFESTYLE magazine.

Instead the magazine kept doing which eyeliner and contact combination worked best, which they had shown for the last 12 issues.

I hope other magazines learn from this and learn to adapt and change to people’s changing tastes. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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33 Comments

  1. May 2, 2014 / 7:23 pm

    aaaahh… I agree with you for most of this… though i am completely gutted that NUTS is gone, as it was my favorite mag… though i’ll admit, i completely agree with you with the last comment about the boring bland outfits… the last couple issues haven’t been that exciting… but i was just hoping that it was just cuz fashion sucked this season and that it would pick up… lol.

    what i’m most sad about though is that there really isn’t any counterpart for me to jump on. all the other magazines around are pretty “blah” too. Vivi is sometimes good, but it’s a little too “preppy” for my tastes and they often advertise clothes that are more expensive than the usual gal fare… meh. sad panda is sad.

    maybe something new will come up??

    • Mitsu
      May 3, 2014 / 1:10 pm

      If I only saw the magazines I’d be so sad of what summer trends offer, but I think there’s some really cute prints and styles taking place that Nuts ignored in their magazine or kept harping on monotone. For summer. There’s not many monotone girls around right now and of course most are mixing in that popular pink or blue colors. Yet somehow the blue in that Happie Nuts turns out so bland. Their try on making Monotone work was a bunch of stripes. Well that’s boring as hell for the 15 outfits across the board. Who wants forever stripes?

      • rpc
        May 27, 2014 / 8:00 am

        Actually alot of clothes in Japan are more bland this year, alot more solid prints and less details. The 1950s style is really popular right now. The 1950s retro style is taking over gyaru basically and its drowning the old original gyaru styles.

  2. May 2, 2014 / 7:44 pm

    KC, if you haven’t tried Jelly magazine, I would recommend them to you. They are a bit similar in style to Nuts, with they’re fashion having a bit of an edge or classic feel. I felt that Jelly and Nuts were the more mature yet stylish mags around. Sad to see Nuts go, but must admit once I bought about 3 copies I didn’t feel like I needed to buy anymore.

    And great post!

  3. May 3, 2014 / 3:37 am

    Interesting. I had a dream the night before last that I had received the last issue of Egg, without realising then that Egg was going down, too. At the time, I thought ‘Silly Rin, Egg is still around..!’

    It’s a shame as there won’t really be any gal magazines to buy when I visit Japan in a few months’ time. TBH, I feel that (although it’s probably different in Japan) for a lot of gaijin gals they lost interest in the magazines because they HAD changed- by toning down.

    • Mitsu
      May 3, 2014 / 1:08 pm

      Thus far it’s a rumor said by Hiromu who has been around Egg for the better part of a century. Egg IMHO is a worse outlier than Nuts or Ageha. It was supposed to be all about trends and missed the mark a year ago and really was stuck in the deep end.

  4. May 3, 2014 / 3:48 am

    I am sad Nuts wont be around anymore, but I also noticed that the outfit sections had become a bit boring… Too bad they didn’t get with the times… I used to be into most of the gal mags, but I too had stopped reading many of them, or only look into them sporadically. I suppose they just became too repetitive and nothing popped out to me anymore… It’s really a pitty!

    • Mitsu
      May 3, 2014 / 1:07 pm

      They really needed to see that for themselves, but most are going the same repetitive path. It’s a shame! Remain the same and finish publishing IMO >_<

  5. May 3, 2014 / 4:17 am

    You are absolutely right! I used to love Ageha. It’s the reason I even knew what a Gyaru was, and the biggest reason why I looked to Japan for fashion advice in the first place. But over the past year, it felt like fashion was taking a back seat and I was seeing the same makeup articles over and over. How many times in a year do we really need to compare lashes? Have lashes really changed so drastically in a year? And most of the main models pretty much had signature looks, so there’s really only so many ways to explain how they’re doing their makeup. I started looking at the older issues (I was actually doing this before I found out about the bankruptcy) and found myself spending more time looking in the earlier issues than the later ones, and the reason was just as you said: they don’t focus on sweet and retro Gyaru styles like they had some years ago. And when was the last time they had done some real street snaps? I love street snaps! It makes fashion feel so much more approachable to me to see the average girl’s take on the style in a real world application!

    Anyway, I will miss Ageha, and I’m glad I was a part of that era. I learned a lot about fashion and myself. It was one of the best things to happen to me, and I won’t forget that. I only wish I had come across it sooner, and maybe I would have started my journey years ago, lol. Thank you for the fantastic article!

    • Mitsu
      May 3, 2014 / 1:06 pm

      I have no problem with fashion taking a backseat, but I would hope it could be more like lifestyle advice and such. Kyaba advice to new kyabas, ladies showing off their big purchases, home decoration, pets and pet accessories. And real street snaps, great point!!

      All the fun life items of women making new money that Ageha focused on. Instead it would the same make-up advice it had been giving. I really feel Ageha could’ve been successful as a lifestyle magazine yet it failed.

      Ageha needed to see the signs earlier >_<

      • May 3, 2014 / 1:25 pm

        Yeah, it could have been a nice lifestyle magazine. One of my favorite sections that they would occasionally feature in their issues was those “How long does it take to get ready” series. It was really interesting to see how long it took a model to do their makeup or decide on clothes, or even how long they spent getting distracted by something on TV. I feel like that’s what AneAgeha was trying for (at least, the 2 issues I saw). It was a really interesting concept, but because everything was so upscale, I couldn’t really relate to much (but I guess that’s what OneeGyaru is supposed to be?). If they had combined the idea behind AneAgeha with the fun of Koakuma Ageha, I think I would have still kept up with them.

  6. May 3, 2014 / 8:33 am

    Happie Nuts has been one of my favourite magazines up until recently. Recently I just feel like the fashion etc is too boring. Same old, same old. Unfortunately.

    A bit bummed out right now.

    • Mitsu
      May 3, 2014 / 1:03 pm

      The problem is I was in the stores they focus on and I don’t think fashion is as boring as they present it. Maybe they’re washing out too much or not using enough prints. Vivi focuses on similar brands and it’s a bright fashion spread always from them. Editing needed to take place >_<

  7. Sybil
    May 3, 2014 / 10:10 pm

    What gyaru magazines are left? Any? I haven’t been able to keep up with the fashion for a while. I loved Ageha so I’m really sad to see that one guy. Also, does anyone know what month that Happie Nuts makeup spread is from?

  8. novia
    May 3, 2014 / 10:56 pm

    i love how you break down the whole thing in details. really sad though cos i love nuts and ageha and i dont think any magazine can replace them. oh well, i can only hope blenda and jelly will survive ><

  9. Kayla
    May 4, 2014 / 2:24 am

    REALLY great post. I never would have thought about all these factors but I completely agree. I really sad and upset about EGG though. I’ve had a subscription for a few years and I’m just so sad they won’t be coming in the mail anymore ;.;
    I’ll have to find a new favorite… maybe Edge S and Vivi. I do love Kiko so much

  10. May 4, 2014 / 9:50 am

    Fabulously written! I was never particularly taken with any of those magazines, but it is sad they didn’t grow more. But I also think Japan has a RIDICULOUS number of fashion magazines so like you said, they just seem to come and go.

  11. May 4, 2014 / 4:23 pm

    Oh I love this post, you really looked at the magazines well and you’re just so honest and cool about it~
    I just don’t understand why magazines like Ageha and Nuts kind of toned down their style but did have to miss the point about trends.. I mean at that point it’s like, if you’re not offering an original standpoint on a season’s fashion, just surrender to the fashion brands and trends from the street and take it straight to the pages of your magazine, right?…but that must be more complicated than I imagine it to be…

    Thank you for posting this analysis!

  12. May 4, 2014 / 5:26 pm

    I will miss Egg alot- I purchase it every month :( It was the first gyaru magazine I got my hands on many years ago, and even though the style isn’t what I wear anymore I still purchase the magazine because I love it! Ageha used to be a favourite magazine, but I stopped purchasing it few years ago because the style wasn’t what I was interested in anymore- now I kind of regret it because it was such a beautiful magazine! (so many sparkles, haha!)
    Thank you for doing such a comprehensive write-up on this, too! It does make me wonder how far gyaru will mix into the mainstream- these were very ‘gyaru’ magazines.

  13. Sylvia
    May 5, 2014 / 3:35 am

    As long as Popteen does die off… I’m happy :( I’ve been reading Popteen since I was 12, and gyaru has really changed so much, it’s kinda saddening.

  14. May 5, 2014 / 9:18 am

    I think I’m the only one who liked Nuts repeating items–it was really helpful to my shopping because seeing the same top in a few different outfits gave me a better sense of how to fit it in my kimawashi system!

    That said, I do see how the monotone was getting pushed above all else. If I look at the pieces I bought for S/S14, it’s a mix of Lip Service and EMODA, almost all monotone except for a little bit of ice blue. Think Anna Yano in the April issue.

    I think the magazine I’ll be switching my allegiance to is Jelly, but I’m planning to continue following the Nuts mates on Ameblo since they were my favorite model team.

  15. May 6, 2014 / 1:17 am

    Wow although I live in Japan I totally didn’t hear about that! I particularly liked to read Ane Ageha for some time and although I am in no way gal I’m sad to see these magazines vanish. But I was always surprised how they could survive since especially Ageha was mostly 100 pages about contacts and fake lashes in every issue. Maybe it gives way for some better new magazines to emerge..?

  16. jenny
    July 15, 2014 / 11:34 pm

    Would love to know what Happie Nuts said in that 12 face problems section. I hate my nose >__<

  17. Rowena
    September 1, 2014 / 1:08 am

    Ahh,, here it is! While agree I was actually bored with the last couple of Happie Nuts mags because of the repeated use of clothes, it was reminiscent of how JJ mag used to do the 7 articles of clothing used different ways in 1 month so it indirectly gave me a broader idea of how to wear certain pieces in my closet. Anyway, I’m pretty bored with the current selection of mags. I’m 26 years old living in California with a focus on going to clubs and parties, the kawaii style just not appeal to me at all. Hoping for another glam-focus mag to appear!

    Thanks as usual for the detailed article :)

    • Mitsu
      September 3, 2014 / 8:23 pm

      I do think the repeated ways is really nice, but it was a bit odd being all thoroughout the magazine. What really got me was I knew there was more clothing that suited this magazine and yet they weren’t using it. Was a total headscratch >_< Ane Ageha may suit you? I think that is really what the big push is right now :)

  18. Jessica
    October 30, 2014 / 11:45 am

    I’m really sad to see these mags go :( I’ve been away from the style for quite a few years now (so many things changed in my life – including becoming a mama and a professional hairstylist!) but I still do check back from time to see what is going on in the gyaru world. Ageha was always one of my favorites, along with Popteen and Cawaii. It’s nice to see Popteen still hanging on!

    I might have to pull out some of my back issues of Ageha and practice some of those hairstyles on people. Might be useful for prom and wedding season :)

  19. Clarke
    March 5, 2017 / 11:36 am

    Hey Mitsu,
    Did you know they brought back Koakuma Ageha and Ane Ageha under a new label? It was brought back in 2015 under a new publisher. It would be great if you could do a new post with the scans in it.

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