LFJ Business Member Spotlight: Stephen Cockburn

Posted On August 25, 2021

Legacy Foundation Japan supports its business members’ endeavors no matter what stage they are in. Our members work in multiple industries both in Japan and abroad.

Meet Business Member Stephen Cockburn. He is the founder of the newly launched Metal Rooster Publishing House. Stephen, an author, explains how trying to finding a literary agent led him to found a company.

Where are you located? 

My family and I are located in Greensboro, NC.

What is your connection to Japan? 

Chisai koro kara. That’s about all the Japanese I can remember. I was able to visit Tokyo and there I fell in love with Japanese cuisine and the art of Murakami Takashi. But honestly, my love for Japan started before I even knew a place called Japan existed. A lot of the 80s cartoons that my brother and I grew up watching were outsourced by Japanese artists. My favorite, Thundercats, was created by Ted Wolf, produced by Rankin and Bass, but hand-drawn by a small obscure company called Topcraft anime.  It would later become Studio Ghibli. The characters and drawings were so amazing. That is what sparked my creative side.

What attracted you to Legacy Foundation Japan?

I enjoy the seminars and the topics. Also the camaraderie. It’s cool to connect with other talented intelligent scholars across the diaspora.  It’s exciting and an honor to see an organization like this start from the ground up. I’ve been a member since May of 2021.

Tell us about your business.

The Metal Rooster Publishing house is an indie hybrid publishing house. Our main goal at this time is to produce and create great novels. Ultimately we want to do more than sell books. The goal of MRPH is to become a hub that inspires people to work on any craft. We even have a promotional service free of charge.  By highlighting our inspirations we can hopefully entice others to post things that inspire them on our website along with our Facebook/ Instagram page. They can just shoot us an email about what they want to do. So many independent artists out there are gems that may be the linchpin to inspire others to paint, write a book, or song. Our motto is Creativity Creates Creativity. It doesn’t matter where it comes from!

What inspired you to go into this industry?

 Well, I used writing as a way to help with depression. First I had a journal but it was boring so I got into writing stories. I completed the first book and set out about finding an agent. Agents told me the process is subjective because they were looking for a certain type of book. They explained that even if your book is really good it could still be overlooked if the genre isn’t currently hot on the market. I decided to start this company one week later. I didn’t want to conform to an industry that picks books on what genres are hot. Just because Harry Potter is out doesn’t mean someone doesn’t have another great story about wizards. I wanted to create an environment that promoted great storytelling and keeps the author is involved in every aspect of their book’s production.

Do you have any advice for people entering into your industry?

I’m learning as I go but if I had to give some advice it would be to look into every aspect of the industry. Look at both traditional and Indie publishing. Weigh out the risks and benefits of then decide which works best for you. 

Written by Alison Rodgers

Alison moved to Japan in 2004. She is an entrepreneur, inventor, educator, connector and personal cheerleader. She credits her success in life to being reared with strong African-American values: family, community, self-empowerment, and progress. Prior to Japan, she worked in advertising on domestic and international projects. Alison is a native North Carolinian and proud graduate of the illustrious Spelman College. Always a Spelmanite, she is dedicated to making a positive impact on society.

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