This year, the publishing industry turns its eye on the educational market. With readership on the decline for all categories of books and magazines due to increased availability of internet content, the publishers are now targeting the one last niche with staying power – parents concerned about their kids’ education.
And the competition is hotting up. This series of reviews begins with the light(-er) weight magazines and then works its way up to the serious read for kyoiku-mamas readying for battle in exam wars. We feature below 7 of the most important local magazines related to the education of J kids. (There are a few new magazines targeting tots and the wee ones, but they are not included below.)
This is a magazine that reviews picturebooks for parents with kids in preschool to kindergarten age group. The magazine itself resembles a lovely children’s picturebook itself. The picks are excellent, look for good visuals, creative artwork, content and cover both classics and newer books. For the bookloving snuggleup-to-kid-readaloud parent. At the back, the magazine also reviews kids’ movies, this edition featured Harry Potter’s latest movie which will be out in the theatres in just a couple of weeks, with the scoops on the characters, very nice photos in a doublespread.
2. Crayonhouse Ehon School
Crayonhouse is another magazine that reviews children’s books but the coverage is wider than MOE’s and extends to older kids. Will appeal to the bookworm family.
3. Yochien Jyohou (Kindergarten and Preschool Information)
This is mainly a directory of preschools and kindergartens, mostly private. In addition, there are a few pages listing advertised products and services and offering reviews of kid-friendly shopping malls and spaces. There is always a need for such a guide for parents searching for suitable preschools and kindergartens to place their kids in. The coverage is not comprehensive however, and there is much more information to be had on the internet, and even on this website on what is available out there.
4. Aera with Kids
Aera with Kids is at the low end of the academic spectrum. It keeps on the light side of academics, focusing on themes that interest the young trendier and less kyoiku- or educationally-oriented parent. Hence, the focus on shopping malls, nice photos and reviews of great playgrounds, trendy kid-friendly eateries. Educational topics are there of course, but generally the magazine keeps it light and cheery.
5. Nikkei Kids Plus
Going up the ladder, also priced at 680 yen, you can see that the serious competition for EDU readers is FAMILY. Not as visually pretty in its presentation and print layouts as EDU, it makes up for it by offering more of everything…more edu articles, writeups, and interviews. This is a magazine for the true-blue kyoiku mama, and probably for the dedicated and thoughtful…educator teachers and school principals looking at their competition will be buying this too. June’s issue offered articles looking at famous schoolmasters philosophies and directives, featured 20 of the newest or strongest learning methods. It also offered an “inside look” at some of the best school environments, methods in the country. Wide-ranging in its coverage, the topics include school architecture, educational travel, homestays, nature trips, food (picnic basket set was the topic in the last issue). The non-Japanese parent will need a strong command of the Japanese language to tackle this one.
This is for the mother who if she wants fashion tips will buy her Vogue copy, and wants value for money in her EDU magazine. Nevertheless, there is a very nice segment at the back, which features the meanest cutting edge products that your kids will want to have. Last issue featured these neat umbrellas with felt handles that curl around your kids shoulders (especially for randoseru-carrying kids) and that hold fast while leaving their hands free. Very solid magazine. Oh, I forgot to mention, the magazine at 680 yen is a tad pricier than Nikkei Kids Plus and Aera with Kids which are 550 yen.
7. Gakken MOOK
At the top of the eduzine ladder is perhaps Gakken MOOK, also the priciest at 980 yen. This is clearly prep material for the entrance exam-and-kid-in-juku warrior mum set. The last two volumes were entitled Ways and Methods for Raising Smart Kids. Theories, methods, diet, lifestyle, tips from juku educators, all are found here. This month’s (June) issue (vol. 2) also features rankings and details of jukus. Kyoiku mamas would probably have bought EDU, FAMILY and Gakken MOOK to round off their armoury. Gakken MOOK’s special editions are well-researched on important topics or issues and are consequently for keeps.