Women and fanzines in Japan : Perzine Blues event report.
Rebel girl in the mirror for Rosa Vertov
from 80s & 90s Japanese woman in punk / new wave / others
01. Virgin Blues / Jun Togawa
02. COMMENT SA VA? / Luna
03. Kagami / Aunt Sally
04. Umetate / ZELDA
05. Cherry Bomb / GIRLS
06. THE PUNK / Mayumi Chiwaki
07. Ame Ni Nuretemo Iiya / Masako-San
08. Banana / 3F=C
09. Ride Ride Ride / mikafika
10. Rondo / Shampoo
1 1. Lotus Rain / Syzygys
12. Touch / ONINKO
13. Number / Sekiri
14. Panic / THE COMES
15. Holy! Holy! / Bárbara
16. Baka Bakka / SUPER JUNKY MONKEY
17. elegant girl’s thinking / COOL SPOON
18. Balcony Scene / SONOKO
Selected by Aya Miyake (No Lady Swears)
Last January, some Making Waves were shipped from France to Japan for the Perzine Blues zine party. Frustrated to not be able to participate (and read Japanese), we decided to ask Aya Miyake, author of the fanzine « Some Trace of Her », who recently launched her distro shop « Lady Swears » to talk about the event – but also to ask her zinester friends to talk about their zines. To complete the article, Aya also cooked up a fabulous Japanese women band/artist mixtape for us : « Rebel Girls in the Mirror ».
We hope this article will make you want to fly away to Japan !
photos : Kumiko Yamada
proofreading : Patty
Aya Miyake : Perzine Blues is a zine party thrown by five women who met through zines. We are all women and make zines, but otherwise what we like and think are different. One likes craft, one runs a distro, one is a witch, one collects punk records, one makes some music, one is becoming a mother…We started an annual event in 2015 where we bring zines we’ve made and sit and chat. We named the event after a song called « Virgin Blues » by Jun Togawa, a Japanese punk musician. We altered the word « virgin » to become « perzine » because we make personal zines.
The theme of the event this year is « ONNA will go on forever » (*ONNA in Japanese means woman/female/lady). In Japan (or probably in any country?), people have very strict eyes on women’s ages and getting older is seen as a negative thing. But we think positively that getting older is a cool thing. There are many names to call women, but none of them seem to suit us in our age. What can we call ourselves? So we gathered and discussed to invent a new name to call ourselves. We discussed a lot…but came to no conclusion. After the party I came up with this word: “Rady ». It means Radical Lady, switching the L of Lady to R. What do you think?!
In Japan, we can get in touch with zines made overseas through some distros, though there are not many of them. But the opposite way is a bit or even much more difficult: there are hardly any opportunities for people overseas to read zines written in Japanese. But actually we would like to get to know zinesters in different countries through zines, so we are very happy and would like to thank you for giving us the opportunity to introduce our zines.
All those fanzines are written in Japanese.
Woman in punk fanzine : SOME TRACE OF HER #01 / Aya Miyake
When I traveled to San Francisco in 2005, I found « Making Waves- A Collection of 12 Women’s Bands from the UK » at a record store. I I listened to it and liked it so much that it became my favorite record. Since then, I’ve been researching the background of this record, but at that time I couldn’t find any information at all so I just left it be. After a few years, around 2011 or 12, when I thought about it and searched it online again, I ran into your zine! You know, since the title of the zine is Making Waves! I was so happy to find people just like me who like this record and women in punk from that time.
In Japan (as I know), the Riot Grrrl movement and the scene after that are known, but I hadn’t met many people who enthusiastically searched for women before that time. Your zine made me want to write in Japanese about this record and female punks of that time. That’s why I created SOME TRACE OF HER. What are those punk ladies who shouted for the freedom and rights of women doing now? I would like to make a series of zines about the past/present/future of women’s lives and the current punk scene.
HOLY★MOUNTAIN,BOOK! / Mamiko Yamamoto (melt.) (WEBSITE)
In this zine, I suggest ideas about how to survive in this world with love and anarchism (and fun!).
How can we, men and women, male and female things, get along?
I think that the key for men, women, and the world to become better is found in the relationships between women and men.
The theme of the first issue is « PENIS SLAP ». It contains my contribution about CRASS’s album « PENIS ENVY » and tips for boys to calm down & dress up based on what I felt and thought when I met Penny Rimbaud in 2014 when he visited Japan. I am a witch and a crafter; I make my ANARCHO KAWAII works with the same idea.
SHEamless zine NEVER STOP ISSUE / Aya Miyake ・Mamiko Yamamoto (melt.)
This zine is made up of a conversation between two women. “Seamless” indicates a smooth condition in which there are no seams/joints. Past/Present/Future. We live in the time which cannot be divided. What we see “suddenly” in our sight is only the “moment” as a fragment of the time. We would like to see and feel things just like we feel the gradation of the changes of our ages and lives. We are here to see things in a punk way (we’ll call it “punk in translation”), things that talk to our minds and bodies rather than to our heads – sensation rather than intelligence, such as sexiness, eroticism and the senses. Peaches’ “I Mean Something” is the base of this “Never Stop issue” and we write about Burlesque Legends and look into the seamless relationship between Neo-Burlesque and Riot Grrrl / Feminist Punk.
TUWARI BEATS / Sanae Miyamoto
I became pregnant in June 2015. The morning sickness I had was the first suffering I had faced and it was unbelievably horrible. I started taking notes to recognize that I survived every day when I could not see the future, not even the current situation. I also write about my obsessions and the pain and joy of being a woman. In Japanese, morning sickness is called Tuwari. “Tu war i” is a War! I released this zine with a patch that shows the trigger point for the relief of morning sickness.
PEPPERMILL zine first issue～FANZINE about zine / MASAKO OYAIZU (SHE SAYS distro)
This is a fanzine of zines including long interviews with KEISUKE NARITA (Yudosha/IRREGULAR RHYTHM ASYLUM), JUNKO HARADA (Yorimichi/Roji To Hito) and DIRTY (C.I.P. Books/CRY IN PUBLIC/TEAM KATHY), as well as zine reviews by eight zinesters and a zine tutorial by HITOMI MORIWAKI. In 2012 I started SHE SAYS distro, a distro “playing favorites with women”. I sell zines, self-published music & books and other items online and pop-up at events or by direct delivery. The opportunity to talk about zines at Fukuoka Museum Of Literature in August 2015 lead me to start making this zine. “What is zine?” This is a question that is very hard to answer, but I compiled my thoughts in this zine through my experience and connections with the distro.: a piece of the zine culture made from small voices and small movements, a zine scene growing around me.
DECEMBER SONGS / mika
I used to play in a band. After I moved to Thailand in 2011 and started working here, I rarely wrote any songs though I really wanted to. In December 2015 I decided to write/record a song every day and post it on Soundcloud as an Advent Calendar. This zine is a diary of my Advent days introducing the songs I wrote. The song “Ride Ride Ride” in AYA’s playlist is one of them. I came up with this one when I was riding my bicycle. When I moved to Thailand 5 years ago, there were rarely people riding bikes, but now it is very popular. In this song, I sing that I don’t ride for fashion or health but for myself and convenience. The days I didn’t make any songs I wrote what I did instead, like how you celebrate a birthday in Thailand.
KANASHIMIYO, KONNICHIWA (Bonjour Tristesse) / satokocreative
“Yuki Saito sang ‘sadness comes suddenly, but I will welcome it as a friend’ (Kanashimiyo konnichiwa (Bonjour Tristesse), 1986)”
In my early teenage life, I believed it would be like that for me too.
But on the other hand I never got used to the sadness, it just felt deeper and deeper.
So I wrote. I wrote about my feelings when I had to face the “sadness”. I couldn’t deal with my sadness but I kept, kept, kept on writing.
There were ten notebooks I kept in my drawer at my parents’ house.
I picked up episodes about “sadness” from my diary I kept in the seven years between being 15 and 22 years old, and also from some notes I wrote here and there after I became a mother.
By compiling these, I expect that the contour of “sadness” of a life of a woman will appear obscurely like a picture with invisible ink. It might look just like a mark of bed-wetting, though. I hope I can make those who are “currently in sadness” smile a little.
* No Lady Swears:
A label/online shop by AYA MIYAKE, publishing SOME TRACE OF HER and SHEamless zine; distributing original goods, music and zines of Women in Punk overseas.
*Irregular Rhythm Asylum:
Perzine Blues took place at Irregular Rhythm Asylum, an infoshop opened in Shinjuku, Tokyo in 2004. There you can find not only radical books, CDs and zines by DIY artists, but also resources and information on anarchism and anti-authoritarian movements. They also have events like exhibitions, discussions, sewing circles and woodcut-printing workshops in the shop.