Two former university classmates felt a sense of crisis as anti-foreign sentiments and hate speech increase in society.

Shunsuke Sugita and Nobuhide Sakurai thought that ethnic discrimination, gender discrimination and discrimination against people with disabilities have combined with one another and strengthened in intensity.

Sugita, a critic, and Sakurai, a scholar of Japanese literature, have launched the magazine “Taiko Genron" (More speech) to give voice to the anti-hate movement.

The two raised about 1.4 million yen ($12,969) from 222 supporters in three weeks through a crowdfunding campaign for the project.

“(The reaction) reminded us that the widespread feelings of hate are an extremely pressing issue,” said Sakurai, who formerly taught at a South Korean university.

The opinion magazine carries reviews, literary works and academic studies to counter hate speech and prejudice against foreigners.

The first issue was published in December, and about 30 people from different backgrounds wrote articles or joined dialogues featured in the magazine.

They included Karin Amamiya, who tackles social divide and poverty issues, sociologist Kohei Kurahashi and novelists Tomoyuki Hoshino and Wen Yourou.

The magazine will be published once a year.

The editors acknowledge that they also have feelings of hate as most people do. They hope to change the inner thoughts of the majority of people in society, rather than discussing the issues of minorities and victims of discrimination alone.

“We want the magazine to become a forum for people with different views to reflect on (hate speech) issues without deriding others or resigning themselves,” said Sakurai.

Sugita, who formerly worked as a helper for people with disabilities, said the magazine plans to value a flexible, multidimensional perspective, instead of merely criticizing hate speech.

Welfare benefits being paid to foreign nationals and the designation of female-only train cars during busy commuting times are among the things that have taken a bashing.

Sugita said some people may be feeling that they are being deprived of some of the privileges long enjoyed by the majority of people in society when they hear the arguments of minorities.

“The atmosphere of intolerance is spreading among people who feel being victimized, frightened by the opinions of minorities,” Sugita said. “We also want to reflect such complicated feelings (on the magazine).”