At the end of the business day today (September 20th, JST), Ongaku Senkasha, the publisher of the iconic and long-running visual kei magazine SHOXX, filed for bankruptcy.
Ongaku Senkasha was founded in 1966 and launched SHOXX in 1990 (26 years ago), when Japanese shock rock was just beginning to break out of its tiny underground shell. Volume 1 was released in October that year, featuring ZIGGY on the cover. Since that time, SHOXX has not only played an integral part in popularizing visual kei over the years, but has also contributed in defining it: the magazine is rumored to be partly responsible for coining the very term ‘visual kei’ (derived, of course, from the subtext of X Japan’s album cover for major debut “Blue Blood”). By 1993, the magazine had already become so successful that the definition of visual kei was often considered simply “bands appearing in SHOXX.”
In September 1998, the company was at its peak with a net sales total of 2.1 billion yen (approximately USD $20 million or 18 million Euros).
Beyond SHOXX, Ongaku Senkasha has created a variety of publications intended for readers in their teens and 20s, including ARENA37℃, a number of musician and idol photo collections, various “mooks” (high-quality, low-advertisement book-like magazines), and its popular anime voice actor magazine, Pick-up Voice.
Unfortunately, sales are reported to have been in rapid decline in recent years, attributed largely to the increasing consumption of news and media via Internet and smartphone. Current annual sales for the global market (both within and outside of Japan) have dropped as low as 250 million yen (approximately USD $2.4 or 2 million Euros), with fears that sales will only continue to plummet.
The company’s debt has been reported at around 400 million yen (approximately USD $3.9 million or 3.5 million Euros).
Readers may remember a similar sad fate for FOOL’S MATE, which was discontinued by its publisher in 2012.
The newest issue of SHOXX, vol. 285, will go on sale in Japan tomorrow with cover artist SuG.
Source: Yahoo! News, Visual Rock Perfect Disc Guide 500 by Akemi Oshima