The September issue of Tokyo Weekender magazine is now on the shelves around Tokyo – we hope you can pick your copy up soon, or at least look forward to reading our features as we post them online over the next week or so.

You can also get the full magazine through the Apple Newsstand, which will bring a native reading experience to the iPad, or through Magzster.

September 2013 Editor’s Letter

“Put a ‘pawn star’ on the cover and they’ll pick it up” was our assumption this month, but we also hope you’ll flick to page 10 to read about the reality TV stars we’ve been glued to over the past few months. It’s hard to avoid Rick and Corey Harrison on the History channel if you have cable TV but meeting them in the flesh in Tokyo this month was, at first, a rather surprising experience (in part thanks to the efficacy of gastric band surgery) and we hope you’ll enjoy reading the resulting father-and-son cover story.

Tokyo Weekender September Issue Out Now

How the Pawn Stars look on the cover of Tokyo Weekender this month

Before that, ahead of the Japan Open, we spoke to Japan’s top tennis player, Kei Nishikori, who tells us on page 8 that he needs to toughen up if he’s going to get ahead; we attempted to figure out what’s behind claims made on the labels of Japanese sports drinks and supplements; and we asked why the nation’s next generation is increasingly inward looking.

Then, to travel.

The island of Hashima, a few kilometers off Nagasaki, is better known by its silhouette-inspired nickname, ‘Gunkanjima’. It has a fascinating history, and after visiting this month as part of a wider exploration of the prefecture, we are able to tell part of its story on page 18.

Thirst for the coal that threaded the earth beneath the surrounding ocean meant the island became the most densely populated part of Japan for a time, but changes in the 70s led to a sudden exodus, and the beginning of a new chapter. After a few decades in which public access was blocked, tour companies started to take the public there a couple of years ago.

Google Gunkanjima and you’ll pull up links to hundreds of photo-led blog posts (and Skyfall fansites), but we decided to go a little further and seek out one of the people behind the lens.

I spoke to a keen photographer who spends his time exploring abandoned and half-ruined buildings across Japan to ask him his thoughts about the island, which he calls a “grand haikyo”.

And with that, I pass the baton. I hope our new editor can find, along with the team here, yet more opportunities to move the magazine, and our new website, forward into something that does justice not only to the Weekender’s history but to you, our readers. Thank you.

Matthew Holmes – TW Editor