Californian Newspapers Profile Founders of Viz, Tokyopop

posted on by Mikhail Koulikov
Seiji Horibuchi, Stu Levy talk about their respective companies' histories, plans

The business section of the San Francisco Examiner newspaper is currently running a feature on Seiji Horibuchi, the founder of manga publisher Viz Media. Horibuchi came to the U.S. in 1975 and founded the company 11 years later using a capital investment from Shogakukan, Inc. Since then, Viz has been owned jointly by Shogakukan and two other major Japanese media companies — Shueisha, Inc. and Shogakukan Productions Co., Ltd.

The article reports that Viz currently employs a staff of 160 people. In addition to various live-action, anime, and manga projects over the years, Horibuchi is overseeing the development of a 150-seat movie theater. The theater will be the central component of a project known as the J-Pop Center, which will also include a bookstore, cafe, and fashion boutiques. It is scheduled to open in San Francisco next winter.

Separately, The Guide section of The Los Angeles Times newspaper profiled Tokyopop founder Stu Levy as part of "The Rise of Japan Cool" feature that it ran last Thursday. Levy was born in the Los Angeles suburb of Northridge and studied in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Japan before establishing Mixx (the former name of Tokyopop) in 1997.

Tokyopop now has more than 80 staffers in its Los Angeles office on Wilshire Boulevard, with additional offices in Tokyo, London, and Hamburg, Germany. As in previous interviews, Levy hinted at the ongoing film development of Tokyopop properties. In keeping with the theme of the newspaper's feature, he also recommended several restaurants for authentic Japanese cuisine in the Los Angeles area.

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