To download a PDF of writer’s guidelines for this year, click here: Japan Harvest Writer’s Guidelines_2020

Japan Harvest welcomes unsolicited contributions. We publish materials of interest to Christians in Japan, those involved in ministry with Japanese outside of Japan, and all who are praying for the Japanese. If you have material or want to write material that fits in this category, we would love to hear from you.

Please read everything on this page before you start to write. However, to answer one of the first questions writers ask us,  following is a quick overview of maximum word counts:

Feature articles

2 pages: 1,500
1 page: 800

Regular articles

1 page with photo bio: 800
1 page without photo bio (eg. Voice of Experience): 850

General articles

2 pages: 1,600
1 page: 850

Editing Policy

If you are a missionary, you’ve written your share of prayer letters (either print or digital). You may blog as well. However, if you have never been  published in a general audience periodical, you may be surprised at the amount of effort the Japan Harvest staff puts into editing the articles we publish. Our goal is to make sure contributions grab the attention of the reader. We want to help you communicate clearly, compellingly, and accurately. Here are some writing tips that may help you as you prepare your contribution.

However, in today’s fast-paced world, attracting people’s attention is a significant challenge.  With that in mind, we do both content editing and copy editing on manuscripts. (Content editing checks for factual errors, contradictions, and inconsistencies. It checks whether the lead paragraph and conclusion are strong, whether every section is logical, and whether the article is balanced. Copy editing checks for spelling, capitalization, punctuation, verb tenses and other grammatical errors. It includes checking sentence structure, paragraph length, missed words, etc.)

We interact with authors during the editing process if significant changes are needed or to check facts or references. Many of our writers express appreciation for the effort we put into this process. We always check the edited articles with authors before going to print.

Academic writing versus writing for general audiences

If you generally write for academic publications, you will find it helpful to review our “Style/Tone” page.

US English and Commonwealth English

Japan Harvest edits according to both US English and Commonwealth English rules, depending upon the author’s primary English background. For example, an Australian author would be edited to Commonwealth standards and a Japanese writer educated in the US would be edited to US standards.

This unusual policy reflects our international readership and seeks to serve our contributors by editing their writing according to the form of English with which they are most accustomed. Our online style guide is designed to assist with this task. If the editors are unsure of an author’s background, the author will be asked to verify whether they want their work edited according to US English or Commonwealth English standards.


Regular departments are often (but not necessarily) by the same author and usually appear in each issue. Regulars include “Off the Bookshelf,” “Focus on Prayer,” “Modern Tech,” “Language and Culture,” “Voices of Experience,” “Good Writing,” and “New Voices” (by missionaries who have been on the field for less than five years).


Features focus on a particular subject area and may include both unsolicited contributions and assignments given well in advance to a writer or writers with an interest in that area.

If you are interested in making a contribution to either a regular department or a feature, we want to hear from you.

General Articles

General articles should contain no more than 850 words (one page) or 1,600 words (two pages). If a topic needs fuller treatment, it may be divided into two or three parts and published in successive issues, or posted on the JEMA website.

Topics we like to see:

  • New initiatives in ministry
  • Creative approaches to ministry
  • Practical how-to articles on life in Japan, ministry tips, deputation ideas
  • Encouraging stories of how God has used your ministry with Japanese people
  • First-person stories of life and ministry in Japan, cultural adaptation, language learning

We’re always interested in seeing contributions from new writers and younger writers. Don’t be shy.


Japan Harvest is produced entirely by volunteers. To ensure that it is a quality publication, our staff members need sufficient lead time to perform each step in its production. Following are our deadlines for each issue. These deadlines are for all content, including advertising. Calls for proposals will be sent out via JEMA email about one month prior to these deadlines.

  • Spring: November 30
  • Summer: February 28
  • Autumn: May 30
  • WinterAugust 30

Photos and Graphics

We encourage the submission of photos and graphics to accompany articles. To help us manage these submissions, please observe the following guidelines:

1. Submit full resolution, original digital files.

2. Change the name of each file you submit to a unique title that will help us identify it (not the name your camera gives it: for example, change IMG_1234.jpg to CPI_main_meeting.jpg).

3. Do not embed photos or graphics in a document. Email them as separate attachments.

4. When emailing photos, please include the name of the photographer and any comments, possible captions, etc., in the same email.

5. If the photograph shows an identifiable face, please ask verbal permission of that person to submit the photo for possible publication in Japan Harvest.


It is the author’s responsibility to provide references for material that is quoted or referred to in the text. Japan Harvest bases our referencing on the Chicago Manual of Style to standardize citations. See the Chicago-Style Citation Quick Guide for specific guidance. Please be aware that our house style is slightly different in some instances.

References to to Scripture should be cited and include the version that the author has quoted from, e.g.: “Jesus wept” (John 11:35, NIV).


JEMA is cooperative membership association with a limited budget, run by volunteers. As such, we are unable to pay for submissions.

A writing contributor will receive two free copies of the magazine in which your contribution is printed and the satisfaction of knowing that you are contributing to sharing the love of Christ with Japanese people. We will also print a short bio with your article.

Complimentary copies – which for JEMA members would be in addition to the regular copy they receive:

  • Guest editor – 5 complimentary copies.
  • Contributor – 2 complimentary copies.
  • Interviewee – 1 complimentary copy.

Those who have contributed to the magazine have the opportunity to pre-order additional copies at the rate of 300 yen each. Shipping costs are additional.

Writer’s rights

Japan Harvest requests:

1. First rights: Your work will not have been published previously, including blogs, review sites, forums, or other publicly viewable Webpages.

2. Multiple use permission: JEMA may republish your work in any future compilations of Japan Harvest articles.

3. Electronic rights: For potential posting in both the private and public areas of the JEMA Web site.