"CEO of the Hokkaido Adventure Art Publishing NPO, Mr. Naoto Hori" - The fifth entry in our Strangers, Fools, and Newcomers series.
In this series we've been taking a look at how unique human resources help local revitalization efforts. Today I'd like to introduce the CEO of Hokkaido Adventure Art Publishing NPO, Mr. Naoto Hori.
Mr. Hori, born in Ebetsu, Hokkaido, serves as editor-in-chief of the publication "Hokkaido Reversal Landscape" and as a representative of the publishing agency.
"We think that a publication rooted in the communities across Hokkaido, for the purpose of giving visitors a tool for discovery, is the best way to promote local revitalization." With this goal in mind the Hokkaido Adventure Art Publishing NPO was founded in April of 2010. Of course it is a popular magazine here in Hokkaido, but it also works to bring the charm of Hokkaido to those living outside the island.
CEO of the Hokkaido Adventure Art Publishing NPO, Mr. Naoto Hori
The first publication of "Hokkaido Reversal Landscape" was in November of 2012.
On the day the magazine was released, Mr. Hori jumped onto his moped, which was packed full of magazines, and headed off to sell them. His end goal was Okinawa, and on his way South he stopped at many places in order to sell the magazine. I spoke with him about the purpose of this incredible journey.
"Making the magazine is important, but what comes after you print is even more important! In order to keep producing the magazine you have to sell the ones you've made, and getting the product to the customer is an important step. We're making these magazines to reach new people, and that's exactly what I wanted to do."
During the day he would visit local bookstores across the country, and at night he would see the night scene and talk to locals individually. It is because of the connections he made during this trip that the business is thriving today.
Mr. Hori and his moped.
Selling the magazine was difficult, to be sure, but the process of making the magazine has had many twists and turns over the years.
"The concept is 13 years old now. (laughs) I've been interesting in making something like this magazine since I was a high school student. I dropped out of college, but I've been lucky to gain valuable experience working in graphic design and making other kinds of books. The last one I made was 'Hokkaido RPG', which was a 200 page epic, but in the end I wasn't confident in the work, I didn't think it would sell. It was then that I switched from creating 'works' to thinking about creating books as a 'product.' I was lucky to be able to connect with the then popular 'Hokkaido Reversal Landscape Tours' and create a spin-off 'Hokkaido Reversal Landscape Guide.'"
"With this guide we want to show off the lesser known Hokkaido sightseeing spots."
What was it that made you want to start your own publishing company?
"I had been thinking that there was a kind of discord surrounding us for a long time which I wanted to fix. To do that I decided that actually publishing myself would be the correct solution to the problem. So rather than just editing the guidebook, we could include things outside the regular field of publishing, such as connecting with regional development and tourism. By doing this we're hoping to change the way publishers are viewed, bring a new viewpoint to the process, and pioneer a new style of entertainment in this industry."
The second publication from the company was released in February of 2013. Going by the name "n次創作観光/コンテンツツーリズム/観光社会学の可能性" (roughly: n order creative tourism/content tourism/the potentiality of tourism sociology.) written by Okamoto Ken, from Hokkaido University. It is a textbook analyzing the tourism potential after the pilgrimage to animation. This book was created for readers who want a peek into the academic world, and for those interested in learning the current state of academic thought on the issue.
At the end o our interview I asked Mr. Hori about his plans for the future.
"I'm hoping to bring more attention to our new style of publishing, reduce discrepancies in the style, synthesize factors in our company, and create a better environment for our future endeavors. The next topic we want to focus on is "Rural and Urban" and the differences between the two. We want to increase the interaction between these two areas, above all covering the exchange or migration of citizens. I'll be moving to the countryside for a fixed period to study the situation, and we'll hopefully be starting a new company. We're also hoping that other companies will begin to adopt our style as well, bringing more awareness to the idea. Knowing that normal guys like us can produce our goods without being dependent on someone else is something that I think can benefit many around the world."
Well I certainly know that all of us Hokkaido Likers are looking forward to hearing of their success in the future!
NPO法人北海道冒険芸術出版 (Hokkaido Adventure Art Publishing NPO)
(Hokkaido Likers Writer- Miyashita)