Last year a very specific Japanese magazine launched. Titled “Blue’s Magazine,” it billed itself as a construction culture magazine and focused on the lives, philosophy and unique culture of Japanese construction workers. “There’s no media anywhere about these guys, but they’re so cool!” That’s Tomonobu Yanagi, the founder of the magazine, explaining the simple thought behind the publication.
One thing I remember about growing up in Japan was how much my Dad admired Japanese construction worker fashion, especially the baggy Tobi Trousers that the workers would wear. He always joked about buying a pair and I was always terrified that he might actually do that.
But apparently he wasn’t alone. Believe it or not, in 2005 German designer Bernhard Willhelm used construction worker fashion as a theme for a fashion show in Paris. And the success of Blue’s Magazine, currently in its 4th edition, is proving that people across Japan are also fascinated by not only the fashion but the entire culture.
In addition to largely focusing on the reconstruction efforts in Tohoku, and the workforce making it possible, Blue’s Magazine also shines a spotlight on foreign construction workers who have come to Japan to fill the shortage gap. Ignition spoke to Tomonobu Yanagi at length about the new magazine, and what it’s trying to accomplish. If you’re in Tokyo, here’s a list of bookstores that carry it the free magazine.