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Web magazine focusing on people with disabilities becoming popular

Editor of the "D.culture" web magazine, Takumi Kiritani, is seen at the Mainichi Shimbun's head office in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward, on Jan. 12, 2018. (Mainichi)

An online magazine that centers on topics relating to people with disabilities is fast gaining popularity.

    Titled "D.culture," the web magazine offers a blend of both heavy and light content, spanning a broad range of items including celebrity interviews, reports on various experiences, manga and also social commentary. The publication has become admired as a website that can be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of the presence of a disability.

    Edited by 57-year-old Takumi Kiritani -- a former trade paper journalist and copywriter with schizophrenia -- the term D.culture stands for "disability culture." The aim of the magazine is to deliver a new kind of publication that combines both journalistic writing with a sense of entertainment, while also presenting disabilities in a positive light.

    When Kiritani was in his early 40s, he developed schizophrenia due largely to stress at work, and then spent 10 years living as a recluse. "I lost everything," Kiritani thought to himself sadly. However, he managed to pick himself up after communicating with people with disabilities online. He gained courage upon contacting these people, but later started to feel that cyberspace lacked a website containing the kind of information he wanted.

    "In that case, I'll make one myself," thought Kiritani, who went on to set up "Disability Culture Center" together with a long-term acquaintance, Toshiyuki Yamanaka, 58 -- an editing and production manager. In February 2016, they started publishing the web magazine. Kiritani also thinks about good design ideas.

    To date, "D.culture" has released interviews with celebrities such as actor Lily Franky, writer Yo Henmi, and manga artist Taeko Uzuki. In addition, a variety of people have contributed to serializations such as former Paralympic athlete Nobukazu Hanaoka, a lawyer, and free paper editors with developmental disorders. There are also plans to start a new serialization in spring penned by a manga artist with schizophrenia.

    There is also a corresponding Facebook page, which has been popular, with some articles gaining nearly 1,000 likes.

    Kiritani is also thinking about making the most of the two-way nature of the internet and enabling readers to interact with the magazine. "People with disabilities do not live their lives trying to move other people emotionally. I want people to grasp the full picture," he says.

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