In the wake of Japanese publisher Kodansha and Dai Nippon Printing’s acquisition of New York/Tokyo independent publisher Vertical Inc., Kodansha is closing Kodansha International, an English-language imprint of the giant Japanese publishing house that published a diverse list of fiction and nonfiction in translation.
Although the closing of Kodansha International has been announced, Laura Shatzkin, director of marketing and sales at Kodansha America, said that details on the closing of the unit were still being determined. As far as can be determined, Shatzkin said, “the future frontlist of Kodansha International will not be published,” but she also emphasized that everything remains under consideration.
Originally founded in 1963, Kodansha International published a list of English language titles that included fiction and nonfiction works in hardcover and paperback. Shatzkin said KI published 25-30 titles a year, mostly nonfiction but with some fiction including mysteries. The list also included crafts, illustrated cookbooks, martial arts, works on Japanese pop culture and English language books on how to speak Japanese. KI has a backlist of “400 to 500 titles,” Shatzkin said.
At the end of February, Kodansha and Dai Nippon both purchased 46% stakes in Vertical Inc. and Kodansha moved the small publishing house, which publishes contemporary Japanese literature, nonfiction and fiction as well as manga in translation, into its U.S. offices on Park Avenue South in Manhattan.
Shatzkin said Kodansha International has a “small staff,” and the company was in the process of figuring out “how to integrate with Vertical Inc. There are still a lot of decisions to be made. This is a work in progress.”