The wait is over as Calvin Reid finally confirms Kodansha’s entry into the US Market:
After years of speculation about its plans, Kodansha, the largest publisher in Japan and a prolific manga licensor to U.S. publishers, is establishing an office in New York City to publish and sell manga directly in the U.S. market beginning this month. The new line of manga will be called Kodansha Comics, which will be published under Kodansha USA Publishing and distributed by Random House.
Kodansha USA Publishing is headed by Yoshio Irie, v-p and board member at Kodansha, and general manager Tomoko Suga, a familiar figure in the U.S. manga market and U.S. comics conventions through Kodansha’s relationship with Random House. Kodansha Comics will launch with two classic manga titles, the postapocalyptic sci-fi epic Akira by Katsuhiro Otomo and the metaphysical sci-fi police thriller Ghost in the Shell by Shirow Masamune. The two series have been published in the U.S. by Dark Horse Books, and both offer an extended array of multimedia franchises that include animated films, video games, prose novels, merchandising and more.
According to the piece, Kodansha will continue to work with a number of its licensed publishers.
Kodansha is Japan’s largest publisher, and their huge line of manga had been variously licensed to Dark Horse, TokyoPop and Del Rey.The confirmation of the move — which has been evident for over a year, since the Tokyopop and Dark Horse licenses were ended then — marks the beginning of what could be a major player in the American GN scene.
The full transcript of the interview with Irie will appear in tomorrow’s PW Comics Week.