Osaka Brand Committee
Biolgical field
Water city
How to Enjoy Osaka’s Summer Festivals
 Osaka as the Holy Place for Street Dancers
 Osaka as the Holy Place for Street Dancers
Tracing the History of Horie from and around Amida Pond
The frontline of Guesthouse in Osaka
A Search for True "Ee-mon" of Osaka
Promoting Environmental Protection from Holistic and Global Perspectives--International Cosmos Prize
Osaka Kaleidoscope
#2 A Search for True "Ee-mon" of Osaka

Published in July 2007 from Ei Publishing co., Ltd., The World-Class "Ee-mon" of Osaka is a magazine-style book that exclusively features selected souvenir items, traditional craftworks, and store specialties that originate in Osaka. Ee-mon is a local phrase that describes "good things." The book has been selling well and was once ranked third on the local listing of best sellers in the month following its publication. As you flip the pages, you will immediately notice the intention of the editors who designed it--to deliver the real atmosphere of the town of Osaka rather than merely listing well-known local products.

There is a message on the first page of the magazine:

"What is the true 'ee-mon' of Osaka?"
This book started from this simple question.

Locals and even some tourists have already realized that stereotyped specialties of Osaka, such as takoyaki (octopus ball), okonomiyaki (savory pancake), and owarai (comic entertainment), or phrases like kote-kote (rich; too much), would not be described as true ee-mon. What may be sold only at a store in Osaka does not always represent local characteristics, either.

Instead, the book reminds us that Osaka's most interesting features are found in its people and community themselves.
It is a friendly conversation between shop workers and customers that often sounds nonsense; it is a "deluxe" product that is overloaded with extra features; and it is people with playful minds who continue to look for ways to make others laugh. Real Osaka exists not in products or stores but in people's spirits and senses that are reflected in their services and communications. In other words, Osaka is marked by its people themselves.

The book was planned and edited by 140B (Ichi-yon-maru-B), an editorial team based in Nakanoshima, Osaka. Editors of the team formerly worked for a local publishing company Lmagazine Co., Ltd., and were engaged in publishing a series of local guidebooks featuring Kobe, Osaka, and Kyoto, which became a major hit selling over 200,000 copies each.
For this interview, we talked to Hiroki Ko and Atsushi Nakashima, editor in chief and publishing director of 140B, respectively.

We published Let's Buy Kyoto and Take it Home in January 2007, which became a big hit. We sold 65,000 copies as the initial print run and reprinted 60,000 more within a month. The "Ee-mon" of Osaka was the second book of the series, for which we originally printed 85,000 copies.
One reason why Kyoto appeals to tourists is that there coexist newer stores owned by younger people and traditional businesses with histories of a hundred years or more. Since tourist destinations and shopping areas are located in one place, people can shop while enjoying the extraordinary atmosphere of tourist sites. In Osaka, on the other hand, interesting stores and shops are often located away from major tourist areas. As we planned the book on Osaka, we knew that we needed to find a different selling point from that of Kyoto.
In many shops and stores in Osaka, communicating with customers comes first before selling merchandise. Customers also often enjoy giving an original nickname to a store item and engaging in conversations that are fun but are not really needed for shopping. We thought the true appeal of Osaka exists in this fun exchange of communication between customers and shop workers. Unique phrases such as "Daitama-yokowake (extra rice with egg on top and sauce separated on both sides of the rice)" at an Indian Curry Shop and "Odasaku Shinde Karee-raisu-wo Nokosu (Oda Sakunosuke (called “Odasaku”) left a plate of curried rice behind when he died)" at JIYUKEN are some of the examples that express the true essence of Osaka spirit.

In one of the articles in the book, titled "24 Wards of OsakaCity: Faces of Ee-mon," we featured Taruko Seisakusho (a manufacturer of handmade wooden tubs), not Namba Parks (a new shopping complex), for Naniwa Ward, and Katsumasa (a Japanese seafood restaurant), not Universal Studios JapanTM, for Konohana Ward. We wanted to focus on how local people relate themselves to those stores and shops in the community. In other words, we wanted to illustrate how well these businesses have connected themselves to local communities and people.

The book is filled with goods and stores selected as Osaka's true ee-mon, each of which have characteristics with an interesting twist. All pictures were taken from a viewpoint of one cameraman, making the book more appealing. If you happen to find it at a bookstore, I highly recommend you to pick it up and read it.

October 3, 2007
Hiroshi Yamanou, Osaka Brand Center