Pasting newspaper clippings takes Japan by storm

Pasting newspaper clippings takes Japan by storm
Satoshi Mutsu

In this day and age of smartphones and the Internet, sharing interesting newspaper articles among friends and pasting clippings on a large sheet of paper is an activity that is gaining popularity around the country.

The activity is called "Mawashiyomi Shimbun," or a wall newspaper made up of articles clipped and shared among friends.

Participants bring newspapers to wherever they choose to gather and cut out articles they like.

They show them to the rest of the group and then paste them on a large sheet of paper.

The activity is the brainchild of Satoshi Mutsu, 37, a former radio and television scriptwriter.

He uses different mastheads for the Mawashiyomi Shimbun according to the kinds of clipped articles presented.

When participants show their clipped articles, the others will often laugh good-naturedly, saying, "You've gotta be kidding me," as if it is a comedy sketch.

"You'd be surprised by how much fun this can be," Mutsu said.

His main occupation is helping to re-create communities in Osaka Prefecture.

Three years ago, he saw the owner of a coffee shop and her customers reading a newspaper in turn and enjoying conversations about the articles in it.

The scene inspired him. "It might become a good tool for communication," Mutsu said he thought at the time.

He held a Mawashiyomi Shimbun event for 100 consecutive days. One young participant was surprised to find the activity so much fun and even asked Mutsu, "Where can I buy a newspaper?"

People who have become fans of Mawashiyomi Shimbun are setting up "branch bureaus" across the nation.

There are now more than 30,000 participants, and schools have started using the activity for educational purposes.

Why is it so popular?

"It allows everyone to make remarks on an equal footing," he said. "And discussions never stop because it's OK to deviate from the subject. It's kind of like middle-aged women chatting in the Kansai region."

He is busily traveling around the country, hoping more people will discover how much fun it is to read newspapers as, unlike the Internet, they can give readers information they never expected to come across.

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