Buy the Latest Issue, Get a Branded Accessory: The Generosity of Japanese Magazines

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Buy the Latest Issue, Get a Branded Accessory: The Generosity of Japanese Magazines

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Who doesn’t love free gifts? In Japan, the magazine industry constantly spoils its readers with luxurious freebies, known as furoku, from tote bags to stationery to accessories. They know what a treat it is for readers to open up a new magazine and find an extra present inside; by tucking in cute and practical goods, they keep people buying their magazine.

Fashion magazines are particularly generous, frequently partnering up with various brands to produce exclusive goods that are bound to attract their target audience. By collaborating with popular brands and companies, the magazine company knows they’ll be able to win over potential readers with free designer products made just for for the publication. A Snidel purse or a Dazzlin tote bag may cost several thousand yen outside in the shops, but when it comes in that month’s issue all one has to do is spend a couple hundred yen to get that special item. There are often Japanese readers who confess to buying a magazine only because they want the freebie that comes with it.


It’s a give-and-take relationship between the magazines and the brands. In many ways, magazines are still one of the most relevant mediums for keeping up-to-date in Japan, by bringing in the hottest trends and marketing their models. Many girls look up to the models that appear on the magazine covers; when they see their favorite fashion icon wearing the same accessory that comes in that month’s issue, they’ll want it too.


The best part is that despite giving it out for free, they don’t skimp on quality. Many of the freebies are designed to be used in everyday life, so it’s not uncommon to see girls carrying the same pass cases or using the same mirror they got from a magazine. Pouches and tote bags are one of the most common products, favored for their durability and creative potential to make a statement. Recently, some magazines have even vamped up their furoku with deluxe gadgets like CanCam’s selfie ring light for their February 2017 issue.

With something new every month, there will always be a fun surprise. You never know you really needed that cute makeup pouch until you see it free in a magazine.

Photos by Sharuru

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College student in Tokyo and lover of Ghibli and Hello! Project.

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