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SUSTAINED ENGAGEMENT Autumn is nearly over—luminous morning mists highlight Kyoto’s eastern hills, tawny hues flare and burn out on the slopes of Mt Hiei, reminding us again of the insubstantiality of day-to-day life. At the core, what lasts? Only sustained, gathered engagement, commitment to strongly-held objectives, carrying us through successions of seasons into the long haul of decades and beyond… Among articles in KJ 81 we present stories of people whose commitment is manifested in long-term concerns, projects involving sustained incremental effort, where progress is measured not in hours or days or weeks but in years, even lifetimes, among those privileged to find such purpose and the means to fulfill it. In most of these stories, the key factor is dedication, with an element of inspiration. How is it that a life path is initially revealed, then followed so resolutely through a world we all know is no more lasting than an autumn leaf, a mountain mist, the silver sheen of first ice-frost, a breath unexpectedly visible in the air? FEATURES PARALLAX VISION: THE AFGHAN PHOTOGRAPHS OF LUKE POWELL “YOU HAVE BEEN TO AFGHANISTAN, I PERCEIVE.” YELLOW HOUSE JALALABAD DANCING WITH THE APARTMENT SHAMAN IN SEOUL
KJ is in many ways a unique publication. Firstly, it is not only non-profit, but also completely volunteer-based, over a very wide-reaching network. None of the editors – or contributors – are paid. We believe that KJ’s uniqueness extends to its editorial approach, its content – the range of topics covered – and to our approach to design. A journal, whether public or private, is an ongoing means of looking afresh at the inhabited world, both social and natural. In selecting material for KJ we look for intelligent work that comes also from the heart. We are curious about society, beliefs, traditions and new developments — how people live, and live well — through the lens of Asian experience. Our generous contributors share valuable Asian insights through special features, interviews and profiles, fiction, poetry, photo-essays and reviews, in both omnibus and specially themed issues. The unique aspect of KJ’s award-winning visual presentation is that our designers shape each story according to its individual content, without relying on templates. Each article is a separate exploration and finds its own form, while often existing in a deliberate interplay with other pieces, meaning that each issue adds up to more than the sum of its parts. Our name, “Kyoto Journal,” also reflects more than a physical location. Kyoto is a place of deep spiritual and cultural heritage, and has been the measure of such things here in Japan for more than a millennium. Kyoto culture has looked deeply inwards (think Zen, and a host of related experiential paths) and has also drawn richly from outside, especially in relatively recent years since the Meiji modernization. Essentially, KJ is a community that transcends place, while respecting and celebrating regional and local identity. We aim to make the best use of the media at hand in continuing to seek the essence of Asia. Care to join us?