Submissions

Japan Harvest is the official publication of the Japan Evangelical Missionary Association (JEMA).

It is a 40-page print magazine published quarterly. The readership includes JEMA members (who receive the magazine as a member benefit), other missionaries in Japan, Christians around the world who are interested in Japan, and Japanese Christians. Some overseas Bible colleges and seminaries also receive Japan Harvest.

Mission Statement: To encourage, inspire, and equip the JEMA community.

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.

Below we’ve provided information that will help you if you’d like to write for Japan Harvest. Please also consult our Style Guide for more detailed information about specifics like punctuation, Romanization of Japanese terms, and referencing.

General word counts:

2 pages: 1,200-1,500
1 page: 550-800

Style/Tone

Japan Harvest seeks to provide encouragement, insight, news, education, and practical ministry help for all who want to reach Japanese with the gospel. Please check out published articles on this website to see the style of articles we publish.

Since Japan Harvest is aimed at a broad readership with varying interests and backgrounds, following are hints for writing articles for the magazine:

  • Use language that would be typical for a general interest magazine or a daily newspaper. This is less formal than academic or theological writing, but not as informal as email or speech.
  • When you have a choice, use simple, everyday words instead of complex words that express essentially the same meaning (e.g. “yes” rather than “gave the affirmative”)
  • Use active voice wherever possible, e.g. “we have noticed” rather than the passive “it has been noticed that”
  • Break up long sentences into shorter and simpler sentences.
  • Contractions are acceptable, and may be preferred in some instances to avoid being too formal, e.g. “isn’t” instead of “is not.”
  • Avoid wordiness. The following webpage gives some excellent hints for editing your own work and reducing excess words: http://leo.stcloudstate.edu/style/wordiness.html

Check our writing tips for more help in preparing articles for Japan Harvest.

Editing

Japan Harvest staff edit all articles we publish. We do not publish every article we receive. Our editing process includes both content editing and copy editing.

Content editing involves examining the text on a deeper level. It 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 involves correcting the language of the text. It is checking for spelling, capitalization, punctuation, verb tenses and other grammatical errors. It includes checking sentence structure, paragraph length, missed words, etc.

Our editing goal is to make sure contributions will grab the attention of the reader, and we do our best to ensure it is accessible to all of our audience (which comprises of a wide age range as well as English ability and country-of-origin). If we consider that significant changes are needed, we consult with the writer. We want to help the writer communicate clearly, compellingly, and accurately. We check edited articles with writers before publication.

Japan Harvest publishes articles edited according to either 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 standards of the form of English with which they are most accustomed. We have developed a style guide to assist us with this task.

Types of article

Each issue of Japan Harvest has a theme and contributions related to that theme are called for via an email on JEMA’s email. Articles related to the theme are called Feature articles.

We also publish other un-themed articles, these are called General articles.

Additionally, we have “regular” articles or columns that have their own theme. As of August 2021 these are prayer, member care, church planting, good writing, modern tech, language and culture, book reviews, an editorial, and news articles translated from the Christian Shimbun. Most of these columns have regular writers. We sometimes publish columns called “New Voices” (by missionaries who have been in Japan for less than 5 years) and “Voice of Experience (by missionaries who have been in Japan for more than 20 years).

Deadlines

Japan Harvest is produced by volunteers. To ensure that it is a quality publication, our staff members need sufficient time to perform each step in its production. Below are our deadlines for each issue. Calls for proposals will be sent out via JEMA email six weeks prior to these deadlines.

Articles are due to be submitted to the managing editor by:

  • Winter: August 31
  • Spring: November 30
  • Summer: February 28
  • Autumn: May 31

Referencing

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

Payment

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 the contribution is printed and the satisfaction of knowing that they are contributing to sharing the love of Christ with Japanese people. We will also print a short bio with the article.

Complimentary copies (in addition to the regular copy a JEMA member receives):

  • 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 websites.
  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 website.

Photo rights

In order to protect people’s privacy, we ask people who submit photos for publication in Japan Harvest magazine, to agree to this statement:

“I have verbal or written permission from those recognizable in the photo/s I’ve submitted to Japan Harvest to be used in the magazine (print and online).” (Name)

Upcoming themes (tentative)

  • Winter 2022: Technology in ministry
  • Spring 2022: Rest
  • Summer 2022: Mobilization
  • Autumn 2022: Evangelism in a shame culture
  • Winter 2023: Ministry in an ageing society
  • Spring 2023: Japanese church history

Editor’s tips

  • Keep your writing succinct. After you’ve written the first draft, go back to see where you can cut unnecessary words and still make your meaning clear. Choose shorter sentences over longer sentences.
  • When you re-read your first draft, make sure everything you’ve written relates to the main idea of the article. Extraneous material should be removed. Avoid repetition of the same word several times in one paragraph if possible. This can make a passage easier to read. Try to rephrase or use a substitute. Be careful also to avoid semi-repetition (or word echoes), e.g. Sue was given the gifting of hospitality.
  • “Show, don’t tell” is a good policy to keep in mind. Try to use words that help the reader experience your story. This can be done by using dialogue or tapping into the five senses. For example, “We started a new English class with a church member.” Could become, “One wet, cold day a church member came to me and asked, “Can we start a new English class for my friends?”
  • Choose active over passive voice. For example, instead of saying, “The tracts were dropped in 5,000 letterboxes,” try, “We distributed 5,000 tracts.”
  • Choose strong, interesting words over weak, common words. For example, “walked” could be “trudged,” “stumbled,” or “hurried.” “Saw” could be “noticed,” “observed,” or “glimpsed.”
  • There should be only one space after a period/full-stop (and no space at the end of a paragraph).
  • Minimize use of exclamation marks, boldface, and italics. This will result in greater impact when they are used. People like to read “how-to” articles rather than “ought-to” ones. Seek to be encouraging and use personal stories to make your work compelling.
  • Bear in mind that we want to encourage one another. Respect your audience by not telling them what to think on a subject. The best approach is to lay out the facts in the most logical and convincing manner and then leave the reader to make his own conclusions.
  • Ask someone to read over your article before you submit it. Ask them to give you constructive feedback about your work so that you can communicate your message to your audience clearly and attractively.
  • Submitting your work as a basic Microsoft Word or rtf (Rich Text Format) document saves the editors time. Please do not use excessive or inappropriate formatting. This includes underlining and frequent use of capitalization. Try to use your words for emphasis, rather than formatting like bolding, underlining, or italics.
  • Don’t use italics or boldface for whole sentences. Don’t insert text boxes or images into the document. (These should be attached to an email separately.)
  • Reference direct quotes with numbered endnotes (see here for guidelines on referencing for Japan Harvest). Scripture quotes require a complete reference, including the version of the Bible that you quoted from.
  • You can email your contribution to wmarshall@jema.org attached as a Word document or an rtf (Rich Text Format) file. An editor will try to get back to you promptly.

Here is a checklist of things to look through before you submit your article:

  • Have I read over my work at least twice, eliminating unnecessary words?
  • Have I asked one other person to read my article over and comment on it before I submit it?
  • Did I stick to one main point?
  • Is my article the right length (what the editor advised, or at least under 1,500 words)?
  • Have I used minimal formatting?