Yoshikazu Moribe

Managing Editor of Popeye
07 August 2007
An interview with Managing Editor Yoshikazu Moribe from men's fashion magazine Popeye.
Launched in 1976, Magazine House’s Popeye Magazine has been an influential force in determining the standards in fashion and culture amongst young male Japanese consumers for the last thirty years. The magazine first existed as a media link to the pop culture coming out of the United States, but over time, Popeye has turned its gaze upon the domestic Japanese fashion scene and its interactions with high-end European brands. We sat down with Managing Editor Yoshikazu Moribe to get a sense of where the market is going and how readers use Popeye’s information.

What is the average age of Popeye readers?

24 or 25. The core readers though are a little younger, maybe 22 or 23. But men in their mid-30s also read it, so the average tends to hit around 25.

Wouldn’t a 24 or 25 year-old employed at a normal Japanese company have to wear a suit, and therefore, have few chances to wear most of the clothes featured in the magazine?

These days, there are many young Japanese who are hairdressers or shop clerks. I shouldn’t call them “freeter,”1 but they have jobs where they don’t have to wear suits to work. The clothes in Popeye are what they usually wear. Those who work for formal companies may have to wear a suit, but on the weekends, they will still wear these clothes when they go shopping or buy records or go on dates with their girlfriends. And the salarymen (salaried workers) today are much more stylish when compared to the past. They continue to wear the clothes they wore as students [on the weekend], and they use Popeye to keep in touch with what is going on. This is just my guess, but students these days don’t have so much money, so they don’t really buy magazines. They just read them in the store. But salarymen earn a real salary and will pop into a convenience store after work and see Popeye on the rack and buy it for the weekend.

Where are your readers located?

50% of sales are just in Tokyo. Then the other big cities – Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuoka – make up 20-30%. The countryside makes up the rest. Popeye is a bit Tokyo-centered, but most fashion magazines are over 60% Tokyo, so we do have a good balance.

Do you see differences in styles between the cities?

A bit. For example, in the street shots for the May 2007 issue, we saw more accessories like scarves and hats in Osaka. In Tokyo it was jackets and skinny jeans.
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