text by Baihe Sun
photo by Baihe Sun

DIY Issue : Interview with haru. from HIGH(er) magazine

NeoL_HaruHigher1 | Photography : Baihe Sun

HIGH(er) magazineは編集者たちが自分たちと同じ若い世代のために作るシンプルなマガジンとしてスタートし、今ではアイデアを自由に表現したい仲間たちのプラットフォームとなっている。編集長のharu.のホームタウンでの撮影に同行し、マガジン作成の過程や現状、考えを聞いた。

HIGH(er) magazine is established for the purpose of the young generation. It started out as a simple magazine and now is a platform for people who wants to express their ideas freely while exploring themselves. We have the editor in chief haru. at her hometown today and here are her thoughts and opinions about HIGH(er) magazine.

ーーまず、HIGH(er) magazineを作ろうと思ったきっかけを聞かせてください。

haru.「もともとは自分のことを分かってもらいたいという気持ちが発端となって、ドイツにいる時に一人でZineを作り始めたことが始まりです。ドイツでの生活の中で言葉の壁が大きくはだかって『どうしたら自分の気持ちを周りに伝えられるだろう』と悩んでいたことから、Zineを作るという考えに至りました。もとは私一人から始まったZine作りが卒業する時にはクラス全員を巻き込んでのプロジェクトとなって、皆で完成させた時に初めて人と何かを作ることの可能性に気づき、日本に帰ってからも続けていきたいと考えるようになりました。帰国してからはすぐに仲間を集めてHIGH(er) magazineの製作に取り掛かりました」


haru.「はい。初めて作ったのは18歳のときでした。そもそも自分の意志でドイツに行ったわけではなかったので、最初の頃は『日本の方が良い』と思い込んでいましたが、ドイツの生活にも溶け込んで彼らの文化も知ってからは日本を客観的に見ることが出来るようになりました。その時に居る場所に私自身を適応させてきたので、 どちらの方が好きということはないのですが。その後、もう一度日本語できちんと勉強をしたいと思い、帰国してから日本の大学に行き始めました」



——So, why did you want to start HIGH(er) magazine?

I initially started making zines because I wanted to get to know myself better. I was back in Germany at that time, and the barrier of the language have sort of limited my ability to communicate with others. So I started to make zines as a means of communication. I did it on my own when I was back in Germany. At the time I graduated from Tokyo University of the Arts, I noticed that I was making zines with everyone in my class. And I have realized that it is possible for me to continue doing it seriously. And so I gathered some friends and started out HIGH(er) magazine.

——It sounds like Germany has a lot to do with the establishment of your zine.

Right.I first started at the age of eighteen. When I first got to Germany, it was difficult for me to fit in since I didn’t understand the culture quite well. And I thought I liked Japan better. Later I got used to it and then I figured that I liked both Japanese and German culture. The desire of learning Japanese got really strong and so I went back to Japan for college.

——Was it different to make your own zine in Japan?

I didn’t have anyone around me who was doing the same creative kind of thing back in Germany. When I got back to Japan, everyone at college was making their own work and I was much influenced by them. The change took place mainly because the environment around me was different and it was easier for me to continue what I wanted to do with those people around me.

NeoL_HaruHigher1 | Photography : Baihe Sun


haru.「先端芸術表現です。油絵や工芸のように特定の技術の育成を目指す学科ではなく、どんなアプローチでもいいので自分に適した表現方法を見つけるということを一番大きなテーマとして掲げている科です。 私はそこで写真や洋服などを学んでいますが、同じ科でも彫刻をしてる人もいるし、映画を撮ってる人もいますよ。1,2年生は基礎として一通り全てを学びますが、3,4年生になってからはそれぞれで自分の表現を追求していきます。私は一つのアプローチに全てを収めるということが出来ないタイプなので、こういった学科はとても向いていると思いますし、だからこそ雑誌というカオスな媒体が好きなんです。学校での経験やその他全てのことが、今やっているHIGH(er)の製作に全て繋がっている気がします」

ーーHIGH(er) magazineのメンバーは大学で出会ったのですか?


ーーなるほど。そのようにして集まったHIGH(er) magazineのメンバーですが、コラムの担当はそれぞれどのように決まったのですか?

haru.「HIGH(er )のコラムを書いてくれている人たち一人ひとりは、もともと自分の大好きなものがある人たちばかりですが、彼らは今までそれを発信できる場が限られていたのです。例えば『この音楽は凄く良い』ということを、HIGH(er )で提供したプラットフォームを通じて世の中に発信してもらえたらと思っています。彼らがその時に良いと思っているものや関心のあることを好きに取り上げて書いてもらっている、といったスタイルですね」

——What is your major in college?

It is called Inter-media Art. We are studying all kinds of techniques, including oil painting and fine art, and are allowed to express ourselves from different approaches using these techniques.I have tried all kinds of things, such as photography and fashion. There are people who also study sculpture and film in my department. First two years were made for everyone to take the same fundamental courses, and later junior and senior students would get to decide what they want to do. I am the type who liked trying everything out and that is probably also why I ended up with media related issues like magazines. Everything I am doing now is all related to what I am doing in college.

——Did you meet all the member from HIGH(er) in college?

One of them is in the same class with me, others are introduced to me by a designer that I knew. And photographer who helped with the street snaps was looking forward to make zines which cover music issues and so we made her in charge of the music column. Other magazines consider a lot about their readers and audience, while we only want to focus on ourselves. When we first got together, all we wanted to do is to have a honest conversation about things that we care the most. That hasn’t changed much even now.

——I see. So how did you decide who should take which part of responsibility when it comes to the distributing of different columns?

People who work on the columns of HIGH(er) all have shown their passion in different fields. They would suggest what kind of content to publish on HIGH(er) and what they want to express from their profession. I liked how it is when they say “this song could be a perfect fit for the issue”. That is how we work.

NeoL_HaruHigher1 | Photography : Baihe Sun

NeoL_HaruHigher1 | Photography : Baihe Sun




haru.「 HIGH(er) の記事の内容が、凄く個人的なことを取り扱っているからだと思います。多くの雑誌は、統計的な数字を見て『この世代はこんなことを思っているであろう』といったデータをもとに記事を書いていますが、一方 HIGH(er) では個人的なストーリーを重視した記事作りをしています。オンラインならではの”拡がり”という特性は、私たちの大切にしている”個人性”を読者の手元から遠ざけてしまうような気がしてしまう。だから、紙という一つの世界で完結する媒体に収めることによって、作り手も安心して自分のストーリーを綴ることが出来るし、読者もページを開けばそこへ飛び込んでいけると思います。そういった性質が HIGH(er) の在り方に合っているので、紙媒体を選びました」

ーーInstagramなどであなたのことを知ってHIGH(er) magazine を手に取る人たちも多いと思いますが、ネット上と紙との向き合い方のバランスはどのように取っているのでしょうか?


ーーいまHIGH(er) magazineを通じてあなた自身が伝えたいことはどんなことですか?

haru.「まさに次の号で取り上げたいと思っていることは、いま私たちは大学を卒業間近に控えているというタイミングなので、ここで一度『これから自分たちがどう生きていきたいか?』といったことを考えてみようと。卒業後は自分の力で生きていかなくてはならなくなってくるので、この局面でどのように生きていきたいかということを考えることはとても重要なことだと思います。また、『こういう生き方もあっていいんじゃないか?』といった提案も必要ですよね。私自身はどこかの企業に入るということは考えていなくて、HIGH(er )での活動や周りの仲間と会社を立ち上げることを考えているので、若い世代やすでに社会人として生きている層に向けても一人の人として”生き方”ということを問い直すといったことをしたいです」

——I see that you are interviewing your friends from your hometown today. How did you make the arrangement?

They are my friends from junior high. I have heard that they are making pants with hemp and I thought that it is really interesting. I usually decide what kind of issue I want to make while chatting with friends.

——Why did you choose to use paper media rather than relying on the internet-based platform?

The content of HIGH(er) is all very personal, unlike other kind of magazines which focused on considering what kind of information the generation wants the most, we really care a lot about the personal side of the story. Things shared online all tend to make people think that they need to be spread and passed on, while what we make is too personal and significant to be swallowed like that. On the other hand, paper media grants more security as we tell the stories.The readers would feel the same when they open up the page. We chose paper media because it was suitable for HIGH(er) considering the content.

——You are followed by many people on instagram and that is also how they get to know about HIGH(er). How do you think the information you share on instagram is different than what you publish on HIGH(er), and how do you balance things on different platform?

We also post things about HIGH(er) on instagram. I want to use it as a means to let more people know about HIGH(er) and our existence. It’d be really nice if they could get to know about us and get our zine eventually. I probably using instagram for branding.

——What kind of message are you trying to send about yourself through the making of HIGH(er)?

I am planning to launch the next issue while college graduation is approaching. I want to think through things again, like how are we going to live as ourselves from now on. We need to think about how to live on our own and it is crucial to be able to raise the concern of suggesting a new way of living as well. I am not thinking about entering a company and work for them, instead, I want to build my own community with people around me. I want to see the possible life for us as a younger generation.

NeoL_HaruHigher1 | Photography : Baihe Sun



ーー先日行われた『Making-Love Club』などフェミニズムについて語る場が多いと思いますが、今日の特に日本におけるフェミニズムについてどう思われますか?


ーーbody shaming(人の外見を批判したり、嘲笑ったりして辱めること)や生理など、センシティヴな事柄を取り上げていますよね。それらの記事を通して読者と話し合いをしたり、何かフィードバックをもらったことはありますか?


ーー HIGH(er)を通して悩みを抱える読者が安心したり、解放されたり、また考えるきっかけになればと考えているのですね。




——Do you think the content of HIGH(er) might be changed after graduating from college?

I have been working on both sides before graduating from college, but now I barely have any assignments from school and suddenly have plenty of time to focus on the production. However, there is something uncertain. I had the eager to do things that I was really passionate about only when there were something else that needed to be focused on. I think I am experiencing the period when I am not so sure about what to do. That is something I need to get adapted to.

——You were at MAKING LOVE CLUB ’s event last month. The topic around feminism was raised. What do you think about feminism in Japan these days?

I think the whole idea of feminism in Japan is not yet fully understood or accepted. The word feminism is not even included in the latest version of the modern dictionary. Feminism is for granting people their freedom to live as themselves despite their gender. We haven’t yet perceived it as a recognition. Since the idea is not yet penetrated, I think it is especially important for the young generation to work through media and spread the idea. I feel that adults are mostly against the idea of feminism. The editors said that the content in the magazines is strong and clear when it comes to feminism. I don’t want to make some statements like that. I want to deliver the messages in a way that is soft.

——You have included several sensitive topics like body shaming and PMS in HIGH(er), what kind of feedback did you get?

I have had readers said that it was fun reading those part because it helped them understood that there are actually people who are suffering from those issues. There were even people came and talked about it directly at event of MAKING LOVE’S CLUB. It would make one feel terrible when they think that they are on their own fighting with their problems. I suffered from eating disorders and that was pretty bad. It made me feel better talking to friends from the same generation and had the same problems.Their existence makes the sense of guilt unnecessary. It would be easier talking to people at your age about these problems, rather with a family member. Everything would be different.

——HIGH(er) really is helping the readers to relieve their problems and think profoundly about their own identity.

Right. But not just focusing on oneself is significant.

——Do you think that you have realized your own identity through making the magazine?

I think my existence itself is quite complex. But while making the magazine with my friends, I think I am realizing things better and I feel that I am being helped.

NeoL_HaruHigher1 | Photography : Baihe Sun








haru.「いっぱいあります(笑)。ある記者の人にインタビューを持ちかけられ、指定されたカフェに行ったら、その方は名刺も渡してこなければ、声を出さずにiPadの文面上で会話をし始めたんです。その時点でおかしいぞ、と思ったのですが『部屋を取ってあるので行きましょう』と言ってきて、いや行きませんよと(笑)。そういうおかしなことは沢山ありましたし、モデル事務所と意思疎通がうまくいかなかったりしたこともありました。私たち HIGH(er )のスタッフは誰も経験がなく、ルールやマナーの知識もやっていくうちに掴んでいっているので、失礼なことをしてしまってご迷惑をおかけしたこともあります」


haru.「HIGH(er )がきっかけとなって、自分でzineを作ったという読者の方がそれを見せてくれた時はとても嬉しかったです。また、仲間がこの雑誌に関われてよかったと言ってくれた時ですかね」

——What exactly does HIGH(er) mean?

It literally means “up” and “better”, both technically and mentally. Instead of HIGHEST, which suggest being the best, I think HIGHER is better and softer.

——While making the magazine, have you noticed the change within yourself?

I wasn’t good at expressing myself before. But through the process, I am finding myself being capable of understanding what I want to say and what kind of message I want to spread. Also it is quite interesting getting feedback from different people and see how it reflects on myself.

——What doing think about being a young editor/creator in your generation?

I don’t have any special idea about it. I am only doing what I want to do and that doesn’t have anything to do with age.

——Any interesting episodes happened while making HIGH(er)?

Countless lol There was this one time that I was being interviewed by someone who was really weird. He didn’t have a business card and started with reading the words from his iPad out loud. And just when I thought things were getting weird, he was like “let’s go get a room”. Of course I didn’t go. There were bunch of things like that happening at the model agency. We, as the member of HIGH(er), didn’t have any experience with things like that and we barely know the rules, and so we got confused all the time.

—— What makes you happy in making HIGH(er)?

It’s like my own zines get to be read by people. That makes me happy. Also, I am glad when my friends are participating.

NeoL_HaruHigher1 | Photography : Baihe Sun

ーーインタビューで「HIGH(er )は家のトイレに置いてあって、家族みんなで読む雑誌にしたい」とおっしゃられていましたが、それはどんな意味でしょうか。




ーー周りにサポートしてくれる友人が沢山いて、彼らも HIGH(er)のプラットフォームを通じて自分の意見を発信できるといった関係性が雑誌自身のコンセプトとも沿っていますし、その姿勢を貫いていきたいということですね。ほかに何か読者に伝えたいことはありますか?


——You have mentioned in previous interview that you wish HIGH(er) to be some kind of magazines that can be put in the bathroom at home. What do you mean by that?

I want it to be read by everyone, anyone. I want there to be no limitation when it comes to the readers. I wish that they can find something interesting out of their daily life. Books and magazines in the bathroom kind of gives out that kind of feeling.

——What else do you usually do besides producing HIGH(er)?

I am currently learning Korean and instruments. What I want to do is probably opening my own business company with friends. Not just for HIGH(er), but to also include the management of artists. There are plenty of talented artists who are not really good at communicating when it comes to commercial work, I want to help them to get their work to be seen by more people.

——You are supported by many friends and readers and their ideas are shared on HIGH(er), too.Is there anything you want to say to them?

I have been asked many times about how to make things happen when it comes to the creative field. The answer I want to give out is that it is important to just start doing things without thinking about it too much. We make the things that we want to see, that is the point.

NeoL_HaruHigher1 | Photography : Baihe Sun

Photography & text Baihe Sun

1995年生まれ HIGH(er)magazine 編集長。ドイツと日本を行き来しながら今は東京藝術大学 先端芸術表現科に在籍中。



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