Voice Up Japan is very proud to announce the publication of its very first magazine coming up this spring. This 20 page booklet, directed by Elif, is the occasion for us to create, debate and of course to voice up about topics that are concerning us.
Our magazine is also the opportunity to explain the origins of Voice Up Japan’s Media team, why we decided to create one and why we felt that it was so important for our organization to have place to heat the debate and to push us to grow.
Voice Up Japan has one Media team since its foundation in June 2019. Starting with a few people, some with writing experiences some without, we are now 15 people. Our monthly meetings allow us to discuss the stories we want to research and write about, share each other information. We make a point to always debate with care for each other’s point of view and make a space for everyone to talk and express themselves.
Always in a vision to improve ourselves by various ways, we recently launched workshops and study sessions like last December, with Tokyo-based french journalist, Régis Arnaud with whom we had a passionate talk on reproductive rights in Japan.
Journalism, Social Justice and the Media Team
Journalism and activism are by definition antinomic terms. While journalism implies to write balanced contents which create debates and give the opportunity to each part to voice different point of views, as in a democratic system, activism is the place of opinion: you express and fight for your values, your ideas, what you ultimately believe in and what reflects your personality and who you are as a unique human-being.
Since its creation, Voice Up Japan made its Media team, one of its pillars. To inform, to share, to educate ourselves and our readers is one of the main goals of our organization since the beginning. We are not teaching anything or anyone; we research, ask questions, and study topics together to grow and to create healthy debates that can be the foundations of actions to be taken in the nearest future. Criticism is also accepted since we all agree on the fact that you can only criticize something/someone you deeply love, in order to help it improve and grow as a better place/person.
Each member is trained as aspiring journalists. I am honored to have the opportunity to share tools, advice and methods with them today. Although they might take different paths for their future, I am sure one thing will always remain, that same thing that reunited us all in the first place : the consciousness of the importance to fight for social justice.
Can we really be 100% objective 100% of the time?
I have been a journalist for almost 15 years now. One of the main reasons I wanted to do the job was the fact that it could allow me to become a medium for people who are willing to voice up and to help them to do so. Journalism is, for most reporters, a vocation. A job that chooses you for your capacity to empathize, for your need to fight for causes and for this thirst of social justice.
Throughout the years, even though respecting that neutral perspective is key, I was always thinking, can we really be 100% objective 100% of the time? I mean, when I am writing this particular story, on that specific platform, isn’t it an indirect way to express concerns? An action taken to enlighten a discriminatory situation that could be avoided?
Voice Up Japan made the choice to publish neutral papers in order to include each point of view and to keep our minds open. The magazine includes writers from different departments of Voice Up Japan, also with a special guest writer KuToo’s Yumi Ishikawa. For the magazine, we are taking a new approach. We are talking about our personal stories and why we decided to “voice up“. For that, in this magazine we will not be only giving you articles, but we will be sharing you our poems, essays, photographs, interviews… our words by using diverse methods of communication. Voicing up takes a lot of courage and power but it comes from a vulnerable stage in our life. To show that we are introducing the readers range of topics from our mental health, our fight for legalizing same-sex marriage, our passion for social justice and many others.
The process of creating the magazine was more than writing entries. We also wanted to have a writing process in which each member respected each other, share their opinion in an environment that they feel safe and felt no hierarchy. Of course, as a community, Voice Up Japan reunites us on values we commonly share, a guideline “that envisions an equitable society regardless of one’s gender, sexuality, race, nationality, or religion where nobody is silenced and everyone can voice up to improve an issue or pursue their happiness”. A place where everyone can feel heard and safe. This guideline shaped our philosophy in our process making the magazine.