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Introducing Mr. Babe – A Japanese Lifestyle Magazine Aimed at Chubby Men

While most lifestyle and fashion magazines are full of photos of slender male and female models photoshopped to perfection that create an unrealistic image of the human body, a fresh Japanese men’s magazine is taking a different approach. Mr. Babe is targeted towards chubby men, a body type that is rarely represented in the mainstream fashion industry.

Launched early this month, Mr. Babe describes itself as  Japan’s first “fashion and lifestyle magazine of chubby men, by chubby men and for chubby men”. It’s main goal is to boost the confidence of its readers and convince them that they can lead happy successful lives regardless of the few extra pounds, by offering fashion tips, health and personal grooming advice and articles on romance and marriage. “Our magazine is in no way encouraging men to gain weight and become chubby,” editor-in-chief Norihito Kurashina said in a recent interview. “Our message is that chubby men can be attractive by making use of what they have now while being mindful of their health so as not to become obese.”

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Kurashina was in charge of Men’s Knuckle, a magazine aimed at young slender Japanese men working as hosts, for over 10 years before shifting completely and launching Mr. Babe. The 52-year-old describes himself as a “debu (fatso) for 25 years” so that might explain the change, but he also claims that the new magazine could become a big business, as overweight men are no longer a minority in Japanese society.

According to the health ministry’s National Health and Nutrition Survey, roughly one in three Japanese men nowadays is overweight. The percentage of overweight men in Japan has been growing gradually over the last decade, while the number of over overweight women has decreased. Kurashina attributes the growing number pf plump men to long working hours. They go drinking after work to relax and have no time, energy and money to go to the gym and keep in shape. “Naturally, their bellies grow,” he said.

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The Poccharimen (literally “chubby men”) portrayed in Mr. Babe magazine are not much different than the Ikemen (a Japanese term used to describe handsome and sexy men) that show up in most mainstream magazines. They are charming, well-dressed and handsome. They just pack a few extra pounds, as well.

As for how successful Mr. Babe will be as a magazine, Norihito Kurashina says he is already “feeling a good response” from the target audience. Some 50,000 copies have been printed of the first issue, which has film star Jack Black on the cover, and the editor in chief said he would be pretty happy if half of them sold.

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Mr. Babe may be unique, but it’s certainly not the weirdest magazine in Japan. That title probably goes to “Everyone Loves a Man Nipple: Photobook”, a magazine dedicated to men’s nipples of all shapes and sizes.

Photos: Mr. Babe

Sources: Japanistas, Timeout Japan

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