“The world just does not fit conveniently into the format of a 35mm camera.”

— W. Eugene Smith

Modern Japan (Manny Santiago)

HESO ("Belly Button" in Japanese) is the center of worldwide culture

HESO Website Credits

The idea for HESO Magazine began as a drunken and passionate conversation in a bar in Matsumoto, Japan in the winter of 2001: how to best provide a forum for the community of talented outsider photographers worldwide looking to exhibit their work? It wasn’t until the winter of 2004 that we did anything about it, and expanded it to include all artists, working in any medium. And this time in Fukuoka, Japan.

Since then it has grown and morphed, contracted and expanded, people have come and gone, home offices have been opened and closed and moved across oceans and back, but that basic independent idea has always remained the one constant: to provide a forum for people to express themselves. Eugene Smith knew 35mm wasn’t big enough. HESO certainly doesn’t claim to be, but we do our best. Here are some of the things that help us do that:

Global network of Contributors (Manny Santiago)

Global network of Contributors

A Handful of Global Contributors

Patti Smith at Fujirock 2009 (Manny Santiago)

Patti Smith at Fujirock 2009

What HESO does

HESO Magazine began as a hand-folded and stapled zine known as the “occasional magazine” in Fukuoka in 2004 by Manny Santiago, initially Heso (臍 in Japanese means belly button) grew from a self-printed, hand-folded, stapled zine passed out for free on the street to its full-color bi-monthly and eventually a quarterly culture magazine format based in Tokyo. Every issue is loosely centered around a theme, and features the work of photographers, interviews and articles on positive-thinking and forward-moving individuals and organizations, music and concert reviews, great outsider art, fiction and of course, beer.

Heso is known for regularly featuring NPOs and NGOs, interviews with prominent people (Click on a name to read more): Japanese Parliament members Tsurunen Marutei & Kawada Ryuhei, The Cove director Louis Psihoyos, the director of RabiaSebastián Cordero and star of Rabia Martina García, musician Cornelius, Beardyman, Scroobius Pip, Damian Taylor, Deerhoof and the incomparable Peter Barakan), as well as a number of professional and amateur photographers, poets and artists working all over the world. We are always looking for more. Contribute?

Managing the Tubes (Manny Santiago)

Keeping the Ts dotted and the Is crossed

Digital Management


Website Credits

This site runs on:

Sushi & Beer at a local Sushi-ya (Manny Santiago)

Sushi & Beer at a local Sushi-ya


“Photography is truth.” — Jean-Luc Godard