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.
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/).
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.
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.
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.
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.
Styling off again. Yui is gorgeous, but she’s in a diaper.
I find it a shame these magazines have gone away, but I’m not surprised because magazines didn’t adapt.
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.
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 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.