Uchūjin

Tagged: Publication | Fan

["Cosmic Dust"] Japanese Fanzine (1957-2009), famously and entirely a pet project of the prominent editor, translator and author Takumi Shibano, which formed an integral part of its country's Fandom in the latter part of the twentieth century.

Founded as a monthly mimeographed publication in 1957, Uchūjin was never a large-circulation journal, with print-runs usually in the hundreds and only peaking around 1000 in the 1970s. It became, however, effectively the in-house club magazine of the sf writing community in Japan, functioning first as a venue from which early professional magazines sourced writing talent, and then as a newsletter intimately connected to Shibano's convention-running activities – Japan's first sf Convention, MEG-CON in 1962, was ostensibly a celebration of its fifth year of publication.

The magazine's monthly schedule slipped in 1973 to a less frequent, seasonal output, although its name continued to function as a brand of quality in the Japanese media, attached to art books and occasional anthologies. On the occasion of its 40th anniversary, several "masterworks" Anthologies collected material from its pages, and a host of sf writers including Shinichi Hoshi, Sakyō Komatsu and Yasutaka Tsutsui contributed to Chiri mo Tsumoreba: Uchūjin 40-nen Shi ["Even Dust Piled Up ... A History of 40 Years of Uchūjin"] (anth 1997), deriving its title from a Japanese proverb of slow but sure success: "Even dust piled up will become a mountain."

The magazine faded from view in the early twenty-first century and was considered on permanent hiatus after the death of its editor in 2010. A final issue #204, memorializing Shibano himself, was edited by his widow Sachiko and published in 2013. [JonC]

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