Shogakukan was founded by Takeo Oga, grandfather of today’s president Masahiro Oga, on August 8,1922. The Japanese company was founded primarily for educational publishing, with a focus on magazines for elementary school students as well as instructional magazines for teachers. The variety of publications has gradually expanded to pre-school children's magazines, general magazines and book publications such as illustrated reference books, dictionaries and encyclopedias.
Shogakukan is part of the Hitotsubashi Group, a set of more or less interconnected companies with shared interlocking business relationships and shareholdings called a Keiretsu. The Hitotsubashi Group also includes several other publishing companies, notably Shueisha. The two companies are headquartered next to each other.
Shogakukan is one of Japan's leading manga publishers. As comic books became increasingly popular in the 1980s and 1990s, Shogakukan expanded with successful fashion and lifestyle magazines such as Oggi and Be-Pal. Today, Shogakukan is one of Japan's major publishers, publishing eighteen comic magazines and about one hundred million comic books a year while continuing to put out an impressive array of non-manga publications.
Shogakukan publishes numerous children's books, dictionaries, and encyclopedias; subjects also include history, folklore, geography, literature, art, education, medicine, photography, and gardening.
Currently, Shogakukan publishes 64 magazines and an average of 760 new book titles per year, and sells roughly 22 million copies from a back list of 9,200 titles. It sells roughly 117 million copies per year of its 13,900 manga titles. It’s lists also include roughly 850 magazine books and 4,000 DVDs and videos.
Key Company Developments in 2013
After several years of continuous decline and significant losses in 2011 and 2012, Shogakukan managed to stabilize turnover. There was a slight decline in fiscal year March 2013 to February 2014, with revenues of 102.55 billion JPY. Its number of employees has been cut by more than 100. Revenues from e-books account for 14 billion JPY, topping most of its rivals and matching the larger Kadokawa group.
Following the overall challenging market environment for Japan’s publishing business, Shogaukan shows a continuous decline in its revenues, and a continuous negative operating result.
Shogakukan, together with Shueisha, has owned Viz Media since 2002. Viz Communications Inc. was founded in 1987 in San Francisco and successfully introduced Japanese comics to North American. In March of 2005 Viz Communications Inc. merged with Shopro's American subsidiary, Shopro Productions and Entertainment, Inc., to form Viz Media, a groundbreaking new entertainment company specializing in the production and licensing of animated content for TV and theatrical distribution, publishing, home video distribution, and consumer products. Shanghai Viz Communication Inc. was founded in 1995, and has been active in arranging for joint publications with Shogakukan and Chinese publishing companies.
The group publishes dictionaries in partnership with Random House, F.A. Brockhaus, Robert and Librairie Larousse, and others.
Shogakukan has significant revenues from e-books, more than 14 billion JPY.
Shogakukan operates ShoPro with two other publishing groups, Shueisha and Hakusensha. ShoPro is a distribution company branded for various media (including manga) and educational materials. The activities of the media division include the distribution of publishing products, TV programming, and international licensing sales. ShoPro cooperates with VIZ Media in the US.