A Unique Science Magazine from Japan

Cover of Otono no Kagaku issue 24

Cover of Otono no Kagaku issue 24

If you have read my about page, you will know that the Denki-Guy is a big fan of science and technology, especially Japanese technology.  Well, it turns out that there is a magazine in Japan that seems to be written specifically for guys like me.  The magazine is called Otono no Kagaku, 「大人の科学」, which I like to translate as “Science for Grown-ups”.  The magazine is published by Gakken, a well known publisher of educational books, magazines and toys.  The title, Science for Grown-ups, may seem a bit odd but, I believe this name was chosen to differentiate this magazine from  Gakken’s better known science publications for children

Each issue of Otona no Kagaku Magazine features a familiar invention from the past.  This invention is used to explain the fundamental principals utilized in more complex technologies today.  Over the course of many articles, the reader is educated on the featured topic.  Commonly, there is an article on the history of the invention and/or the inventor.  Sometimes there is an article on the social impact of the technology that has evolved from the featured invention.  Recent inventions explored in Otona no Kagaku include:  the 4-bit MicrocontrollerPoulsen Wire Recorder and Electromagnetic Engine.  One thing that is unique to Otona no kagaku is that each issue is bundled with a simple hands-on kit which allows the reader to build their own working model of the featured invention.  A series of experiments utilizing the kit are included to encourage the reader to explore the technology in more depth.  Clearly, the magazine is designed to make learning fun, even for us grown-ups.

Otona no Kagaku is slowly gaining recognition here in the US.  The Maker Shed, online store for Make Magazine, now carries many of the Otona no Kagaku issues.  You can also find many sellers of Otona no Kagaku on eBay.  I myself buy Otona no Kagaku at Kinokuniya  Book Store in Seattle.  The one thing that is clearly limiting the popularity of this unique magazine is the fact it is written entirely in Japanese.  Even if you don’t read Japanese, you can still enjoy the historical photographs and elaborate graphics that fill the magazine.  Also, the assembly instructions for the bundled kit are so well illustrated that knowledge of Japanese will not be needed for most people to assemble the kit.  That said, a little knowledge of Japanese will go a long way towards fully enjoying this magazine.

In future installments of this “A Walk Along the Denkigai”, I plan to dive a little deeper into some of the issues of Otona no Kagaku that I own. 

The Denki-Guy


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