Friday, May 16, 2014

Furoku - 付録 Part 2: Girls' Magazines

In my previous post, I talked about the history of furoku, with a focus on boys' magazines. Over the decades, Japan has also had a rich heritage of girls' magazines. They have also gifted lucky readers with furoku, yet I've discovered some interesting differences between the way boys' and girls' magazines promoted furoku as well as the types of giveaways handed out.

Let's take a look at some of the main monthly periodicals for girls.

Shojo (Young Girl)
This December 1955 issue of Shojo came with two furoku. Notice how the focus of the cover design is on the illustration, and the list of furoku (on the left) is subtle and downplayed. In boys' magazines, the furuko stood out on the page and seemed to be a main selling point.
Besides the design, another important difference between boys' and girls' furoku was the type of freebies included. Many girls' magazines came with manga, so no difference there. But whereas boys' mags also handed out games, toys, and other similar goodies, girls' mags focused on other types of gifts, like stationery sets, bromide cards, planners, and the like.

The above issue of Shojo included a Christmas letter set (as far back as the 1950s, Christmas-related gifts were heavily promoted in Japanese kids' magazines). The second gift was a 53 card set of bromide playing cards. Not bad!

Shojo Club (Young Girls' Club)
November 1961. Now that's what I call wearing your fall colors!
Click to read the rest of the story:

This publication was even more subtle in the way it listed its furoku. The list is in thin black font beneath the magazine's title. Again, the main image stands out front and center. The list of giveaways includes a stationery set, 6 bromide cards, a star prism stand, and some kind of pony tail item.
April 1959

7 furoku came with this issue, including a bag, study card, and a planner. It's interesting that a full 50 years later, a number of fashion magazines in Japan had to turn to giving out bags and other freebies to retain (and even grow) their reader base. I guess when a sales tactic works, it just plain works!
 Shojo Friend
January 1963

5 big presents in this issue
September 1965. I don't believe this is a big furoku publication besides some bromides, but I just had to post this photo. Does anyone else look at this and think Ralph Macchio and Tamlyn Torito in KK 2?
 Libon  (Ribbon)
November 1977. From the 50s to the 70s (and beyond), the furoku tradition carried on over the years.

6 furoku - iron print, bag, high class pencil case, etc.
 Here are some examples of furoku manga from girls' magazines:
There are a couple of interesting points about these manga that distinguish them from boys' furoku manga. First, on average they seem to be longer - sometimes quite a bit so. A number of these manga are 70+ pages. One was around 130 pages long! Readers were treated to long, in-depth stories.
Another interesting point I learned. You might remember in my last post I mentioned that in boys' mags/furoku, the writers heavily used "to be continued" to hook readers. The story arcs carried on not only from that month's mag to that month's furoku, but on to the following month's issue as well. So that was one way they got you to continue buying the mag.

However, in girls mags, the furoku were typically stand alone stories. Not only that, but the stories contained in the magazine were also stand alone.

I'm not sure what conclusions can be drawn from these differences, or why they exist at all, but it's a question worth considering.

 Finally, here's a look at some of the different sizes of furoku from the 50s and 60s:

Coming up, I'll take a closer look at some individual manga furoku from boys' mags as we continue this trip in the wondrous world of magazine giveaways.

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