PingMag: From Tokyo, the bilingual magazine that thinks about what comes next

“The things we enjoy today are the springboard for what comes next.” That simple idea has been at the root of PingMag since we first went online.

The little things we find forgotten on street corners, or in grandma’s house, lead to the next little moment of joy. That joy is the starting point for inspiration, and that inspiration in turn leads to new discoveries and new ideas which eventually will become the norm.

With that belief as the base, we have done our best to bring you those “little things” from Tokyo, across Japan, and sometimes from around the world, alongside all kinds of new ideas by artists and designers.

March 11, 2011. A huge disaster occurred in Tohoku. From that day, a change has come over Japan. Just what are we living for? What are the foundations on which we make decisions? What kind of a world do we really want? In all kinds of places, from politicians to individuals, people are starting to doubt the most basic ideas and values in an unprecedented way.

And at the same time, the twenty-first century world we live in is showing signs of change as well. As America and Europe lose some of their strength, countries in Asia, with China at the lead, are gaining both financial strength, and influence. Cracks are beginning to appear in the picture of a society based on modern western philosophy which has been the goal of so many countries for so many years.

Maybe it is possible to construct a society around a different set of values? Maybe we can build a happier, more plentiful society if we shake off what we have come to see as “normal”, widen our field of view, and take advantage of all the technologies, philosophies and ideas that humankind has developed all around the world from ancient times? More and more people are beginning to share a similar, itching thought.

What should we aim for next?

With the east Asian megapolis of Tokyo as our base, we want to take a stab at answering that question.

Taking Japan as our context, we realize that sometimes our point of view will be one-sided. But as contemporary Japan now questions its most basic values, by taking a multi-sided approach that mixes Western, Eastern and uniquely Japanese ideas, although it may not lead to the “correct” answer, we think we might just be able to plant the seeds for a meaningful discussion.

I know. That sounds a bit over the top, maybe. But we want to give it a go.

From now on, PingMag will choose four themes over the year, and try to bring you those “little somethings” as usual, as well as more meaty interviews and specials, based around each theme.

In addition, we have decided to gather up each theme into a book, published four times a year, so that both online and on paper, we can do our best to become the bilingual magazine that thinks about what comes next.

For the first theme, we have chosen “The Japanese Home”. From ancient times up until today, the homes we live in are a mirror of our everyday lives. Everybody knows that Japanese architecture is based on a unique set of ideas and traditions. Maybe we can find some hints as to what people need in their everyday lives by taking a look at the places people live in Japan? With that in mind, over the next few months we will take a look at the Japanese home from all kinds of different angles and points of view.

(Alongside that main theme, we will continue to bring you all sorts of fun stuff as normal, so do keep on enjoying the PingMag you know!)

We are hoping to get the first book out by the middle of May 2014. It’s the first time we have produced a book so we have no idea if things will go smoothly (probably not!), and are a bit nervous to be honest. We will keep you up to date with progress on the website, so feel free to follow along and enjoy our successes (and confusion!).

We will take your questions and thoughts by email or on our Facebook page. (We are a very small team, so although we will do our best to answer quickly, please forgive us if it takes a while to get back to you.)

It’s almost a year since PingMag relaunched, but finally we are ready to set out for real on our new adventure.

Thank you so much to everybody all around the world for all your fantastic support so far.

We hope you will come with us, and enjoy the next stage in PingMag’s adventure.

Douzo yoroshiku onegai itashimasu.

  • Dee

    Great idea, i have a small suggestion, when you announce your first book, please provide a way to pay for it and for the other 3 books.

  • len_c

    Go PingMag Go!

  • Mark Fojas

    I like the editorial direction that this outlines for pingmag. I think as you were reconstituting, some of the depth was lost. I see this as a return to greatness (though there have been plenty of great articles this year!)

  • londonlime

    this sounds great and appropriate for the time. I’m looking forward to the first series!