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Kodansha Ltd.
Founded November 1909 (spin-off),
1911 (merger with Dai-Nippon Yūbenkai),
December 1, 1938 (formal)
Founder Seiji Noma
Country of origin Japan
Headquarters location Bunkyō, Tokyo
Key people Yoshinobu Noma, president
Publication types books, magazines, manga, music CDs and DVDs (through King Records)
Imprints King Record Co., Ltd.
Kobunsha Co., Ltd.
Kodansha Comics USA
Number of employees 939 (as of April 1, 2011)
Official website

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.[1] The Noma family (relatives of the founder) continue as owners of Kodansha.


  • History 1
  • Relationships with other organizations 2
    • NHK 2.1
  • Honors 3
  • List of magazines published by Kodansha 4
    • Manga magazines 4.1
      • Male oriented manga magazines 4.1.1
      • Female oriented manga magazines 4.1.2
    • Literary magazines 4.2
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Headquarters of Kodansha in Bunkyo, Tokyo, Japan

Seiji Noma founded Kodansha in 1909 as a spin-off 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 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 other 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.[2] Their American publishing house, Kodansha Comics USA, will remain in operation.

Kodansha USA began issuing new publications under the head administrator of the international branch Kentaro Tsugumi, starting in September 2012 with a hardcover release of The Spirit of Aikido.[3] 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 broadcasting companies 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.[4] Gendai's sister magazine Shūkan Gendai nonetheless published an article which probed further into the staged-footage controversy which has dogged NHK.


List of magazines published by Kodansha

Manga magazines

This is a list of the manga magazines published by Kodansha according to their 2012 Company Profile (page 4).[6]

Male oriented manga magazines

Kodomo (Children's) manga magazines
Shōnen manga magazines
  • Shōnen Magazine Wonder (????-????)
  • Monthly Manga Shōnen (1947-1955)
  • Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine (1964-1974) (After a suspension, changed name to "Monthly Shōnen Magazine" in 1975)
  • Monthly Shōnen Rival (2008-2014)
Seinen manga magazines

Female oriented manga magazines

Shōjo manga magazines
  • Nakayoshi (Monthly) (Since 1954)
  • Bessatsu Friend (Monthly) (Since 1965)
  • Betsufure (Quarterly) (Since ????)
  • Dessert (Monthly) (Since 1996)
  • Aria (Monthly) (Since 2010)
  • Nakayoshi Lovely (5 issues per year) (Since ????)
  • The Dessert (Monthly) (Since ????)
  • Shōjo Club (????-????)
  • Shōjo Friend (1962-1996)
  • Mimi (1975-1996)
Josei manga magazines
  • Be Love (Bi-weekly) (Since 1980) (Originally called “Be in Love”)
  • Kiss (Bi-weekly) (Since 1992)
  • Kiss Plus (Bi-monthly) (Since ????)

Literary magazines

  • Gunzo, monthly literary magazine
  • Mephisto, tri-annual literary magazine focusing on mystery and detective stories
  • Faust

See also


  1. ^ "Company Overview." Kodansha. Retrieved on April 5, 2011. "Address: 12-21, Otowa 2-chome, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 112-8001, Japan"
  2. ^ Kamiya, Setsuko and Mizuho Aoki, "Kodansha International to close doors", Japan Times, 4 March 2011, p. 1.
  3. ^ Kisshomaru Ueshiba "[2]", Kodansha USA, Inc.,Sept. 4, 2012. ISBN 9781568364094
  4. ^ "NHK インドネシア「爆弾漁法」". Retrieved 2012-08-13. 
  5. ^ Japan Foundation Special Prize, 1994
  6. ^

External links

  • Kodansha Official Japanese website (Japanese)
  • Kodansha Official English Website
  • Kodansha USA Official Website
  • Kodansha Comics USA Official Website
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