Japan military media special— Japan


Japan’s relationship with its military makes for interesting ideas across all media

Harutoshi Fukui, defence, industry, military, war

Taboo breaker


Movie-goers in Japan have Harutoshi Fukui to thank for challenging a film-industry taboo. Until 2005, the film studios avoided showing Japanese troops in combat, except in Godzilla movies.

That year, three of Fukui’s stories opened in cinemas as big-budget action thrillers. Their common theme: Japan’s military resorts to force and saves the day.

Not exactly a radical idea. But in Japan, where the post-Second World War constitution forbids the Self Defence Forces from acting like a military, Fukui’s stories struck a chord…



Fusosha Publishing


Why was Mamor launched?
The Defence Ministry only ever had an internal newsletter but nothing for the public. The idea was to get young people interested in their own country’s defence policies and Self-Defence Forces. It’s not for recruitment, mainly to win support for the SDF.

How do you target this audience?
We put female models in uniform on the cover so it will attract people who wouldn’t read a magazine about the military. The Defence Ministry has the final say over content but we make sure the design and story-writing is like any other magazine. Every issue has a glossary of military terms, manga, a horoscopes page and a dating section.

Has readership increased?
We started off at 25,000, and we’re now at 30,000.

How long does it take to put the magazine together?
We start planning an issue four months in advance. We brainstorm and send proposals to the Defence Ministry and they give us feedback. Before an issue goes to press they review every page. [At a table nearby, four men in shirtsleeves and ties pore over proofs for the next issue.]

Any special features?
We have a year-long series on nine women in their freshman year at the National Defence Academy of Japan. We also do profiles of unique women, who make up just 5 per cent of the military.

An opinion poll recently published in Mamor showed that 20 per cent of respondents think the SDF shouldn’t have to rely on weapons.
I think that the name Self-Defence Force is a strange thing to call a military. It’s a reflection of the government’s past policy of denying its own dark history. There’s a longstanding view here that the military is evil. People here tend to adopt the simplistic view that war is bad because we’re not taught enough in school about the wars that our grandparents experienced. Plus, thanks to the security alliance with the US, our country has stayed safe, which has led many people to believe that security is free, that it doesn’t involve any hardship.

Circulation: 30,000
Staff: 8
Launched: January 2007
Publisher: Fusosha Publishing (Tokyo)


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