Sunday, 5 April 2009

Magazines in the Spotlight: Oily Boy

OilyBoy is produced by the same people who produce a magazine called Popeye.

The name surely makes us all chuckle and raises a few eyebrows when mentioned in conversation. This point is best highlighted by my message to twitter following picking up this magazine for Elder Boys at the Japan Centre yesterday afternoon: 'Finally, I have Oily Boy in my grasp!' was met with a combination of of laughter and puzzled replies. As the reaction to the name subsides, we are left with a strong magazine which offers fashion and style guidance to the older variety of Japanese 'boy'. Japan has an ageing population. Twenty two per cent of the population are over 65 and therefore Japanese retailers, marketers and publishers need to tease more purchases from the grey pound. Oily Boy is designed to excite consumption among the 'elder boys' and in the process has excited me. As I flick through the issue and munch on my Wasabi Peas (another Japan Centre purchase) I want to be an oily boy. It is clear that the Japanese do everything better, including never really growing up.

There are a number of theories regarding the meaning of the name but only one is correct. The Washington Post ran a great piece on the launch of the magazine and helped answer a few questions in the process. "Oily Boy" is the nickname of the late Jiro Shirasu who was once the coolest guy in Japan. Shirasu was one of the first Japanese men of substance to allow himself to be photographed whilst wearing jeans. He owned and often tinkered with his Bentley. On social occasions, his trousers and shirts were sometimes stained with oil. "That kind of man never forgets the 'boy' in him," says the OilyBoy Declaration, which can be found in the magazine's first edition. "The boys became not adults, but 'elder boys.' And that is why we cry out loud: We are Oily Boys."

Given that I cannot read Japanese, my whole attention is focused on the imagery and there is more than enough subtle detailing and styling to keep me busy. One of my favourite features of the magazine sees the profiling of real Oily Boys.

Out of all of the Japanese chaps featured, Katsuyuki Yoshida is my favourite. Mr Yoshida is 71 years old, from the accompanying images I thought he was a musician but he is in fact founder of Yoshida & Co and Porter Classic (thanks Tommy). He is awesome. The youngest Oily Boy profiled is Satoshi Ishiguro who is a surf loving 48 year old and the oldest is Yoshihisa Kinameri, a 78 year old business man. All of these men are inspiring. "Unleash yourself. Be free. Do what you want to do." That, is the OilyBoy way.


00o00 said...

love japan centre, love the restaurant there, fantastic food!

TheSundayBest said...

Popeye is excellent. Once I get to "P" I'll have a bunch of photos up.

Little Nutbrown Hare said...

Katsuyuki Yoshida is the Yoshida in Porter Yoshida!

Style Salvage Steve said...

00o00: The sushi is the best in central. Yum!
TheSundayBest: Awesome. Hurry up through the alphabet please!
Little Nutbrown Hare: Aaaah, thanks. It all makes sense now!


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