Kodansha Ltd. (株式会社講談社, Kabushiki-gaisha Kōdansha), the largest Japanese publisher, produces the manga magazines Nakayoshi, Afternoon, Evening, and Weekly Shonen Magazine, as well as more literary magazines such as Gunzō, Shūkan Gendai, and the Japanese dictionary Nihongo Daijiten. The company has its headquarters in Bunkyō, Tokyo. The Noma family—relatives of the founder—continues to own Kodansha.
Seiji Noma founded Kodansha in 1909 as a spinoff of the Dai-Nippon Yūbenkai (Greater Japan Oratorical Society) and produced the literary magazine Yūben as its first publication. The name Kodansha (taken from "Kōdan Club", a now defunct magazine published by the company) originated in 1911 when the publisher formally merged with the Dai-Nippon Yūbenkai. The company has used its current legal name since 1958. It uses the motto "Omoshirokute tame ni naru" (面白くて、ためになる, To be interesting and beneficial).
Kodansha Limited owns the Otowa Group, which manages subsidiary companies such as King Records (official name: King Record Co., Ltd.) and Kobunsha, and publishes Nikkan Gendai, a daily tabloid. It also has close ties with The Walt Disney Company, and officially sponsors Tokyo Disneyland.
Kodansha is the largest publisher in Japan. Revenues dropped due to the 2002 recession in Japan and an accompanying downturn in the publishing industry: the company posted a loss in the 2002 financial year for the first time since the end of the World War II. (The second-largest publisher, Shogakukan, has done relatively better. In the 2003 financial year, Kodansha had revenues of ¥167 billion, as compared to ¥150 billion for Shogakukan. Kodansha at its peak led Shogakukan by over ¥50 billion in revenue.)
Kodansha sponsors the prestigious Kodansha Manga Award, which has run since 1977 (and since 1960 under another names).
Kodansha's headquarters in Tokyo once housed Noma Dōjō, a kendo practice-hall established by Seiji Noma in 1925. The hall was demolished in November 2007, however, and replaced with a dōjō in a new building nearby.
The company announced that it was closing its English-language publishing house, Kodansha International, at the end of April 2011. Their American publishing house, Kodansha Comics USA, will remain in operation.
Kodansha USA began issuing new publications starting in September 2012 with a hardcover release of The Spirit of Aikido. Many of Kodansha USA's older titles have been reprinted. According to Daniel Mani of Kodansha USA, Inc., "Though we did stopped [sic] publishing new books for about a year starting from late 2011, we did continue to sell most of our older title throughout that period (so Kodansha USA never actually closed)."
Relationships with other organizations
The Kodansha company holds ownership in various broadcasters in Japan. It also holds shares in Nippon Cultural Broadcasting, along with Kobunsha. In the 2005 takeover-war for Nippon Broadcasting System between Livedoor and Fuji TV, Kodansha supported Fuji TV by selling its stock to Fuji TV.
Kodansha has a somewhat complicated relationship with Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK), Japan's public broadcaster. Many of the manga and novels published by Kodansha have spawned anime adaptations. Animation such as Cardcaptor Sakura aired in NHK's Eisei Anime Gekijō time-slot, and Kodansha published a companion-magazine to the NHK children's show Okāsan to Issho. The two companies often clash editorially, however. The October 2000 issue of Gendai accused NHK of staging footage used in a news report in 1997 on dynamite fishing in Indonesia. NHK sued Kodansha in the Tokyo District Court, which ordered Kodansha to publish a retraction and to pay ¥4 million in damages. Kodansha appealed the decision, and reached a settlement where it had to issue only a partial retraction, and to pay no damages. Gendai's sister magazine Shūkan Gendai nonetheless published an article which probed further into the staged-footage controversy which has dogged NHK.
- Japan Foundation: Japan Foundation Special Prize, 1994.
- Gunzo, monthly literary magazine
- Mephisto, monthly literary magazine focusing on mystery and detective stories
- Edwin O. Reischauer Memorial House
- Kodansha Noma Memorial Museum
- Noma Award
- Tuttle Publishing
- Vertical (company)
- "Company Overview." Kodansha. Retrieved on April 5, 2011. "Address: 12-21, Otowa 2-chome, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 112-8001, Japan"
- Kamiya, Setsuko and Mizuho Aoki, "Kodansha International to close doors", Japan Times, 4 March 2011, p. 1.
- Kisshomaru Ueshiba "", Kodansha USA, Inc.,Sept. 4, 2012. ISBN 9781568364094
- "NHK インドネシア「爆弾漁法」". Engei.s17.xrea.com. http://engei.s17.xrea.com/gendai1/0001.html. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
- Japan Foundation Special Prize, 1994