Kodansha Limited (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 Bunkyo, Tokyo. As of 2010[update] the Noma family - relatives of the founder - continues to own Kodansha.
Seiji Noma (Noma Seiji) 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[update] legal name since 1958. It uses the motto Omoshirokute tame ni naru ("To be interesting and beneficial").
Kodansha Limited owns the Otowa Group, which manages subsidiary companies such as King Records and Kobunsha, and publishes Nikkan Gendai, a daily tabloid. It also has close ties with The Walt Disney Company, and officially sponsors Tokyo Disneyland.
The largest publisher in Japan, Kodansha once[when?] had an annual revenue of more than ¥200 billion. 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's headquarters in Tokyo once housed Noma Dōjō, a kendo practice-hall established by Seiji Noma in 1925. Japanese media[which?] described the dōjō, the only surviving example of its type, as a "holy place" for kendo enthusiasts; and building-preservationists saw it as a priceless example of martial-arts architecture. Kodansha demolished the hall in November 2007, however, and replaced it with a dōjō in a new building nearby.
Relationships with other organizations
The Kodansha company holds ownership in various broadcasters in Japan, and is believed[by whom?] to hold around 20% of the TBS Group's stock. It also holds shares in Nippon Cultural Broadcasting, along with Kobunsha. In the recent[when?] 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 NHK, Japan's national 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.
- Gunzo, monthly literary magazine
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