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FRUiTS; the magazine which has captured the cool kids of Japan and beyond for two decades. We’ve had Japan on the brain – and in our hearts and our souls – while making Middle Plane’s sixth issue, so time was ripe for a chat with Shoichi Aoki, FRUiTS founder and editor. Read the conversation here.

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The subcultures and aesthetics of Japan have obviously influenced FRUiTS, but how has FRUiTS influenced the subcultures in return?

regards the street fashions of Harajuku as artworks, and is an activity to collect and archive them. Rather than being influenced by subculture, FRUiTS is part of subculture itself. I think most magazines are edited with the intention of bringing some influence to culture, but this is not the case with FRUiTS. Intending to be a collection and archive, I rather try to be careful not to affect the ecology. It’s actually similar to observation of nature or the field research of cultural anthropology. Having said that, it’s a fact that FRUiTS contributed to giving value to the street fashion of young people in Harajuku, and this had some impact on the subculture as a result without intending to do so.

How has FRUiTS maintained its impact all this time – against the backdrop of an ever-changing fashion and style culture – whilst keeping a consistent format throughout the years?

Publication of FRUiTS has been suspended since 2017, and I don’t think it has maintained its impact since then. One of the biggest reasons for the suspension was that the current of fast fashion swept away the fashionable kids from Harajuku. But the end of magazines as a system was also responsible.

What place does the Kawaii movement have in the modern world?

That’s a question I would rather like to ask. Looking at the world from Japan, it is difficult to know. I think the kawaii movement was successful as a marketing strategy by the Japanese government. But turning something into a keyword can also create misunderstanding and end up losing a lot of some other part or sense of it. I don’t feel very comfortable when people try to directly associate FRUiTS and kawaii culture.

What was the process of digitising your archive, and how did it affect the publication?

First, I digitised the first 100 issues of STREET because I had lots of free time during the COVID-19 pandemic. I did this by scanning the pages of the magazine as the images from that time were shot with film cameras and most of them had not been digitised. I had 3,600 pages to scan, which took me a long time. Many people including some famous fashion brands, have purchased digital STREET magazine sets. I’m happy that these images from the archive have a contemporary audience.

Next, I digitised all issues of TUNE. It didn’t take long this time because in the case of this magazine, the films were digitised at the time of editing and publication.

As for FRUiTS, I have only digitised a few issues. The images had already been digitised from film at the time of editing, but it takes me a long time to digitise the magazine pages because they were edited with an old version of QuarkXPress software.

The Coronavirus taught me the necessity of preparing for a sudden death. One of my subject matters has become about creating a legacy from my work in the past for future. I see the digitisation of the magazines as part of it.

What is being digitised is all from the archive, and there’s no impact on the publication of the physical magazines.

Could you tell us a bit about your observations on the style codes from the different cities you’ve worked in?

It’s true that each city in the world has a different style code, and my impression about it is pretty much the same as everyone else’s. Japan might be unique among other places. Different cities in the country have a different style code, but also in Tokyo, each area has a different one. Harajuku style is different from that of neighbouring Aoyama or Shibuya. Shinjuku, Shimo-kitazawa, or Ginza also has very different styles although there is no unique style in other areas [laughter]. In the case of Harajuku, even each street has a different fashion style. People change their fashion daily according to where they go, but also individual style decides where they go. Maybe I can only see this because I live in Harajuku, which enables me to be aware of their small style differences.

What are your plans for the publication's future?

I’m planning to resume shooting for FRUiTS. I’ll begin with posting photographs on Instagram. I’m also planning to publish a physical magazine, but it’s not going to be something you can buy for a couple of hundred yen [a few pounds] in any book store in the country, nor published monthly. At the moment, I can’t really imagine what form it would take. Also, there are some photographs that I continued to take with my smartphone after the suspension in 2017. I’m planning to publish these images in the form of a photo book.

In April 2022, I visited London to shoot the musician Beabadoobee for the cover of THE FACE magazine. I stayed there for two weeks then and shot some street fashion. These photographs are now on Instagram and I’m planning to publish them in a physical STREET magazine.

I’m also planning to start publishing regular issues of STREET again when physical Fashion Weeks reopen.

In addition to these future plans, I recently set myself a new goal to create a FRUiTS museum in cyber space. As part of the preparation for it, I’m planning lots of things including the publication of a photo book with images from the archive.

Translation by Sonoko Nakanishi

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20年にわたって日本と海外のクールな若者たちを捉えてきた雑誌FRUiTSMiddle Plane 6号を制作するあいだ、私たちの頭には-そしてハートとソウルにも-日本があった。FRUiTSの創始者・編集者である青木正一と話をする時期が熟していたと言えるだろう。インタビューの内容はこちらから。

1. FRUiTSは、明らかに日本のサブカルチャーや美学に影響を受けてきたと思いますが、いま反対に、雑誌がサブカルチャーに影響を与えていると思いますか。またそうであれば、それはどのようなかたちで影響を与えていると思いますか。


2. FRUiTSはこれまで一貫したフォーマットを維持し続けていますが、変わり続けるファッションやスタイルの文化を背景にして、雑誌がそのインパクトを維持し続けることができているのはなぜだと思いますか。


3. 現代の世界において、「カワイイ」文化はどのような位置を占めていると思いますか。



4. 雑誌のアーカイヴをデジタル化された過程について教えてください。また、そのことが、紙媒体の出版に与えた影響があれば教えてください。






5. 青木さんがこれまで仕事をされてきた各国の都市について、それぞれのスタイルのコードについて、またそれらの違いについて、個人的なお考えや印象があれば教えてください。


6. 青木さんの今後の出版活動について教えてください。



2022年4月にTHE FACE magazine の表紙の撮影でロンドンに行きました。ミュージシャンのBeabadoobeeを撮影しました。その時ロンドンに2週間滞在して、市内でストリートファッションの撮影もしました。その写真をインスタグラムに掲載していますが、それを紙媒体のSTREETとして発行する予定です。