Biei promotion magazine covers townspeople, festivals, and bridges
Five women living in the Northern Hokkaido town of Biei launched “Biei no Koto.” (All About Biei), a magazine that reports on wonderful things about the town. The magazine catch phrase is, “We want to connect people, things, and times through love!” It covers items of interest in the town such as the summer tradition “Nachi Biei Fire Festival” as well as people involved in the key area industries of agriculture and forestry and the over one hundred bridges in the town.
The five members have diverse career backgrounds, with designer and company owner Sasaki Yoshie (60) at the head and the other members working as a writer, a photographer, a farmer, and an organization staff member. In April of this year, they established the “Biei Design Room” and have actualized meetings, reporting coverage, and photography alongside their normal careers and time spent taking care of their children.
The cover is an overhead photograph of torches used in the Nachi Biei Fire Festival captured by group photographer Moriya Mitsuyo (47). Because the photograph resembles the cross-section of a tree trunk, they overlaid the words “Age Rings of Biei”, comparing the history of the town to the age rings of trees. The magazine starts with an article about the festival, introducing the process of crafting the torches and the profiles of the members.
The bridge section includes a map so readers can carry the magazine in one hand while exploring the area around bridges like the “Shikino Bridge” and “Hinode Bridge” spanning the Biei River.
One article covers a man in his fifties who was motivated by the COVID-19 pandemic to return to farming. It includes tales about the time when he stopped farming when he was younger and photographs of him enjoying a fulfilling life after returning to the field. His joyful demeanor as he said, “I’m pioneering this land right now,” was a wonderful thing to read about.
“Biei Design Room” owner Sasaki commented, “Everyone in the magazine group loves Biei,” and expressed her hopes for the project, “We want to become a hub connecting together everyone in town and a source of inspiration for other people to think, ‘Maybe I can do something great as well’.”
“Biei no Koto.” aims for two issues per year. The first issue ran five hundred copies. It is 28 full color pages in a conveniently portable digest size. The price is 500 yen. Copies can be purchased at local locations including the Kamikawa Biei 7-Eleven and Michi no Eki Biei “Oka no Kura”.
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