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YASUMASA YONEHARA

YASUMASA YONEHARA

June 3, 2017

Profile

Name:
Yasumasa Yonehara
DOB:
1959
POB:
Kumamoto, Japan
Occupation:
Editor / Artist

Interacting daily with more than 2 million fans on China’s Twitter, Weibo, He’s the man in the cap taking instant camera photos at dope parties all over the world. This is his front but behind the scenes he’s an editor. A middle finger up at the mainstream and mindful of the indie soul. Beyond skillfully editing the current era, this man is fixated on An affection for culture and an affection for Japan.

I thought that I should get a proper job when I graduated college. All of my relatives are teachers or public workers so, since I was small, it was like a mantra from my parents that I had to work a solid job like a civil servant or even a doctor.

Before coming to Tokyo, I went to vocational school in Kumamoto and ended having an affair with one of the neighborhood wives. [Big Laughs] I was hiding from the rain one day and heard, “Huh? Aren’t you a student at that prep school?” “Would you like to come in for tea?” I went over a for tea a few times and then found out, “Married?!” like it was a TV show or something. [Laughs] One day, she couldn’t get in touch with me so she sent a letter to my parents. I had just come to Tokyo to take an exam and got busted like that so I just didn’t go back home. I ran away from home a few times. I thought about masturbating a lot when I was in high school. I checked a lot of books and found out konjac (a kind of Japanese gelatin) was awesome if you warmed it up. So, this one time my parents went out for a drive, of course I had some konjac going at a rolling boil. My parents came back and were like, “Why the hell are you boiling konjac?” and I was so embarrassed. [ Laughs] So I thought I could just warm it up in the bath tub instead and that would be just like human skin so I threw some konjac in the tub and let it soak. [Laughs] I had just finished when my dad came back home and I was thinking, it’s okay, it’s okay, and I threw the konjac out the window. Then my dad took a bath and asked me, “Why does it smell like konjac in here?” I ran away from home that day. [Laughs] My dad knew exactly what I was up to. [Laughs]

When I was a college student I was working at a new wave cafe in the back of Center Street in Shibuya called Nylon 100%. I was spending my life working and hanging out with musicians and artists, thinking that I was going to look for a proper job after college. Growing up in the country left an impression on me. Including my relatives, all around my house were teachers or public workers so it was like a mantra from my parents that I had to work a solid job like a civil servant or even a doctor. I devoted myself to that part-time work and was thinking it would be fun to do something with the people at the cafe but at the same time I knew that I’d have to look for a real job.

What kind of book do you wanna make? That was the base and you refused anything outside of that no matter how much money was in it. It feels so old school but magazines had personality. I feel like I learned a lot there by making magazines based on putting importance on old school magazine production.

While I was in college, there was a celebrity magazine called Weekly Myojo and I started working part time there. If I worked right I got 3000 bucks a month plus a month and half’s bonus twice a year. It was good money. I was also getting an allowance and my rent was covered so it was like, what? I realized I could just make a living from part time work without getting a real job. But after school I started thinking that I needed to get a real job like as a writer or something. At the time, there was a magazine called “Gals Life” which kind of like “egg” that came after it ended up in trouble with the government. But it appealed to the bad girls of the day and the fashion was cutting edge and it had amazing photos. I was in charge of documentaries like about a 13-year-old prostitute and teaching high school girls how to smoke weed correctly. [Laughs] It had special features like that but the magazine got in trouble with the government so it was discontinued. [Laughs] That’s right, because I was taking pictures like, “This is how to smoke weed.” [Laughs] But it was a fashionable and cutting-edge book.

After that, at the time, there was a magazine called “Young Lady” that turned into “ViVi” later, but I started doing the celebrity interviews there. In those days, there were master editors everywhere, now editors are in the shadows, but at that time editors were strong and always fighting with the sales people. Isn’t it unbelievable? Editors are just like sales people now. At the time, it was just about what kind of book you wanted to make. That was the base and you refused anything outside of that no matter how much money was in it. It feels so old school but magazines had personality. Now it’s all commercial like, “Yeah, yeah” just make the pages and it’s all the same. I feel like I learned a lot at that time by making magazines based on putting importance on old school magazine production. Under a master editor.

 

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