Asahi Camera mag ceasing publication

The COVID-19 pandemic is also hitting Japan’s photo publication industry with Asahi Camera magazine (アサヒカメラ) ceasing publication with its July 2020 issue (on sale on June 19 in Japan) after 94 years in business. It is (or was) Japan’s oldest camera publication since April 1926. (Including a hiatus during World War II in 1942–1949.)

Due to chronically low circulation (averaging 31,500 during spring 2020) and the pandemic drastically shrinking its advertising revenue, the magazine has decided to quit. The many cash-strapped companies in the camera industry no longer have generous advertising budgets. Japan also has many camera/photo magazines all competing for advertisers.

Asahi will continue to publish camera/photo articles in another corporate group publication called AERA dot. Also, the prestigious Kimura Ihei Photo Award (木村伊兵衛写真賞) will continue to be awarded by the magazine’s parent company, Asahi Shimbun newspaper.

Otsukaresama to Asahi Camera magazine. Hopefully Nippon Camera and other camera mags will survive these hard times.

Reference: https://publications.asahi.com/news/1385.shtml

Japanese buzzword for 2017: Insta-bae

NHK TV program about the Instagram boom.

At the end of each year, a major Japanese publisher of reference books gives an award to the year’s most popular buzzword. The Japanese press gives this wide coverage to reflect the current times. Thirty words have been nominated for this honor in 2017 and one of them is photography-related.

It is “Insta-bae” (インスタ映え) which basically means “taking photos to show-off on Instagram.”

On the morning of Sept. 16, 2017, NHK TV in Japan aired a very interesting program about the Instagram boom in Japan. It was a discussion among a few celebrities and social media experts. They talked about the major aspects and issues about Instagram use, especially by young women in Japan.

The keywords for popular Instagrammers were “Kawaii,” “Kolorful,” and “Kako” (digital filters/enhancement). That’s what you need to focus on to become an Instagram star. One example they showed was a girl named “Nano” who used a pink theme to show confections. (Her Instagram wall is pink.)

The motivation behind Instagram is to show something “Right now,” “Only here,” and “Only me.” It’s about instant, fleeting, and unique moments plus You, the star. Vis-a-vis other conventional social media which was more about “Anytime,” “Anywhere,” and “Anybody.”
They also mentioned that a whopping 40% of Instagrammers and social media users in Japan were going on trips and to restaurants mainly to post photos on social media. So it’s creating economic ripples as they buy train tickets, food, etc.

It’s a great way to publicize products and businesses and for marketers to see current consumer trends and preferences. Many amusement facilities have set-up picture-taking ops or backgrounds just for these Instagrammers. Like a water park providing mermaid costumes for girls to wear for Instagram photos.

The social media experts also cited major differences between Instagram and Twitter. On Instagram, at least in Japan, there is a culture of praising each other. Post on Instagram and people will give you compliments. While on Twitter, you can be subject to flaming or criticism. (“Your makeup/hair looks ugly today!” etc.) So Japanese users seem to favor Instagram over Twitter.

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Renting fake friends for a fake party photo.

On the darker side, users can become obsessed with the numbers game of gaining more “Likes” and comments. Their lives may revolve around social media so much that it affects their work or mental health. They might also go as far as posting fake or staged photos. Like borrowing a friend’s Gucci bag and posting it as their own. Or renting fake friends (¥8,000/person for 2 hours) to pose with you at a fake party so you can post the photos (photo above). Then there are followers who get tired of keeping up with all these people leading “exciting and wonderful” lives. The drudgery of “liking” all these photos…

If you can read Japanese, you can see the complete list of 2017’s nominated buzzwords in Japan here: http://singo.jiyu.co.jp/

They will announce the winner of 2017’s buzzword award on Dec. 1 at 5:00 pm.

UPDATE: On Dec. 1, 2017, “Insta-bae” was indeed selected as a co-winner as Japan’s buzzword of the year in 2017. CONGRATULATIONS to us and our photo world/culture in Japan!! Camera makers are responding to this phenomenon by offering Insta-bae-friendly cameras.

CP+ 2016 Yokohama Camera Show

The CP+ Camera & Photo Imaging Show 2016 was held on Feb.25-28, 2016 at PACIFICO YOKOHAMA. The new thing was the CP+ Used Camera Fair and Outlet Fair for camera accessories held on the 2nd floor above the camera show.

Canon booth had these fantastic rhythmic gymnasts doing their stuff for photographers trying out the new EOS 80D and EOS-1D X Mark II.

Canon booth had these fantastic rhythmic gymnasts doing their stuff for photographers trying out the new EOS 80D and EOS-1D X Mark II.

Sony booth was full of people to hear train fanatic/photographer Nakai Seiya give a slide show. Besides his passion, his ordinary and down-to-earth personality has made him very popular.

Sony booth was full of people to hear train fanatic/photographer Nakai Seiya give a slide show. Besides his passion, his ordinary and down-to-earth personality has made him very popular.

Nakai Seiya has become really popular and famous in Japan for shooting trains. He shoots at least one picture of a train every single day (since 2004).

Nakai Seiya has become really popular and famous in Japan for shooting trains. He shoots at least one picture of a train every single day (since 2004).

Nikon booth

Nikon booth

Flowery Olympus models.

Flowery Olympus models.

Epson

Epson

DJI had a netted booth to demo an impressive flyng drone. Supposedly crash proof from dead batteries. It can also lock on to a fixed position so if any wind or bird knocked it, it would return to its fixed position automatically.

DJI had a netted booth to demo an impressive flyng drone. Supposedly crash proof from dead batteries. It can also lock on to a fixed position so if any wind or bird knocked it, it would return to its fixed position automatically.

FujiFilm calls its exploded camera "Decomposition." Sounds rotten, but it wasn't.

FujiFilm calls its exploded camera “Decomposition.” Sounds rotten, but it wasn’t.

jcii

JCII Camera Museum displayed the earliest cameras in history. Camera obscura.

Wet plate camera complete with portable darkroom.

Wet plate camera complete with portable darkroom.

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Sony Mavica, basically the world’s first electronic still video camera in 1981 and harbinger of digital cameras.

CP+ Used Camera Fair is held for the 1st time together with CP+. They might do this every year from now on. On the 2nd floor (above the camera show).

CP+ Used Camera Fair is held for the 1st time together with CP+. They might do this every year from now on. On the 2nd floor (above the camera show).

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Together with the used cameras, they had an outlet area for discounted camera accessories like tripods, monopods, bags, and more by major brands like Manfrotto, Etsumi, and Velbon.

In Queen's Square is this Minato Mirai Gallery that you will pass by on the way to CP+. Very good (and graphic) exhibition of Hiroshima and Nagasaki bomb photos. Free admission.

In Queen’s Square is this Minato Mirai Gallery that you will pass by on the way to CP+. Very good (and graphic) exhibition of Hiroshima and Nagasaki bomb photos. Free admission.

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