Boon Bites the Bust


booncover.jpg Wipe those smiles off your faces, you ingrates: your favorite Japanese street wear magazine Boon is as dead as a noor dail.

Okay, okay. None of you read Boon. I don’t even read Boon, and I read Japanese magazines for a living. While not exactly Relax-R.I.P. in stature, let me explain what this all means while you prepare your o-kouden to send to Shodensha.

The magazine market in Japan has seen steady decline over the last decade. Boon, however, has schooled everyone on how to
dramatically implode. Although launched in 1986, the magazine really hit its stride in the 1990s, becoming the main info source for the “vintage” clothing boom. At one point, Boon printed 800,000 copies a month! 800,000! This is more copies than every single contemporary O-nee-kei magazine (CanCam, JJ, Ray, etc.) combined. 800,000 copies of a men’s street wear magazine dedicated to dressing people in old, disposed American clothing.

By 2007, the whole vintage street wear thing had run its course, and Boon dropped to a 50,830 print-run — a mere 6% of its peak. Late last year, Shodensha rebranded the magazine as b., a Men’s Nonno clone showing you how to mix casual street wear with “high-brands” like Black Fleece by Brooks Brothers. Apparently that strategy didn’t work.

Unlike Relax, Boon did not really represent a particularly creative subsegment of Japanese youth culture, and I can’t claim that many will bemoan its absence. But look on the bright side: every time a youth fashion magazine goes under, another magazine targeted towards old people like Hers pops up. You guys are into off-season jaunts to Corsica, right?

W. David MARX
April 7, 2008

4 Responses

  1. Diego Says:

    You know, I actually used to ‘read’ Boon back when I was more obsessed with sneakers and streetwear and such (the scare quotes are because I don’t actually know Japanese–I probably should have just said “look at”). Even without the advantage of knowing the language, it did always seem a bit silly. Though I was pretty surprised to see Boon’s relaunched stab at Men’s Nonno-ism on the newsstand last year–should have taken that as a sign that the end was coming, I guess.

    How often do these kinds of relaunches actually work in the Japanese fashion magazine industry? (I’m genuinely asking–I don’t know.)

  2. Kim Jong-il Hater Says:

    I actually flipped through one at my friend’s house, and I was wondering. Do they stop people on the street to take pictures of their outfits? Or do they dress them up, put them on the street, then snap a shot?

  3. W. David MARX Says:

    Street snaps are people they have stopped on the street generally.

  4. Will Says:

    It is raining cats and dogs,