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Kodansha Confirms Plans to Publish Manga in U.S. (Updated)

posted on by Egan Loo
Kodansha USA to focus on back catalog, but original publishing is possible

Kodansha, the largest publisher in Japan, has confirmed with Publishers Weekly that it is establishing the Kodansha USA Publishing company in New York City to directly publish and sell manga in the United States under the Kodansha Comics imprint. Yoshio Irie, vice-president and board member at Kodansha, will lead the New York subsidiary with general manager Tomoko Suga. As previously revealed in retail listings, the new imprint will launch with Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira dystopic science-fiction manga and Masamune Shirow's Ghost in the Shell cyberspace manga — both formerly published by Dark Horse Comics.

Publishers Weekly reports that Kodansha USA will focus on Kodansha's back catalog of manga, but Irie said that original publishing "is one of our eventual ambitions." He also emphasized that “Kodansha Comics doesn't aim to be the exclusive label for titles from Kodansha.” Kodansha decided not to extend its manga licensing agreements with the North American publisher Tokyopop, but Del Rey is still publishing Kodansha titles into next year.

Word of Kodansha's new American plans first became public last year, although it has entered the North American market and the English-speaking market before. Almost a decade ago, Kodansha experimented with a line of Kodansha Bilingual Comics that included Clamp's Cardcaptor Sakura, Ken Akamatsu's Love Hina, and Yōzaburō Kanari and Fumiya Sato's The New Kindaichi Files (Kindaichi Case Files). Kodansha stopped publishing those titles when Tokyopop licensed the right to publish English editions doe many of them. Del Rey Manga now publishes most of the recently translated manga from Kodansha, such as Akamatsu's Negima! Magister Negi Magi and Hiro Mashima's Fairy Tail.

In Japan, Kodansha publishes Weekly Shōnen Magazine, Monthly Shonen Magazine, Young Magazine, Morning, Morning 2, Afternoon, Magazine Special, Magazine Z, Evening, Monthly Shonen Sirius, Monthly Shōnen Rival, Nakayoshi, Bessatsu Friend, Be•Love, Kiss, Dessert, and The Dessert manga magazines. It has also published official file magazines for specific franchises, such as Clamp no Kiseki, Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny, Ultraman, Mobile Suit Z Gundam Historica, Kamen Rider, and Tokusatsu Hero Magazine.

Update: Publishers Weekly posted an updated version of its article on Monday.

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