Kadokawa Shoten is a well-established Japanese publisher of books, Mangas and Manga magazines. The company was established on November 10, 1945 by Genyoshi Kadokawa. Its first publication imprint, Kadokawa Bunko, was published in 1949. Kadokawa Shoten went public on April 2, 1954.
In January 2007, Kadokawa Group Holdings inherited the management and integration businesses within Kadokawa Shoten. The magazine businesses was transferred to the Kadokawa Magazine Group. The video game divisions of Kadokawa Shoten, ASCII Media Works and Enterbrain were merged into Kadokawa Games. Since the founding of Kadokawa Haruki in 1976, Kadokawa was also active in movie production.
In fall 2013, Kadokawa restructured based on a “one company” model, integrating nine subsidiaries to become Corporation. Kadokawa Corporation merged with Dwango on October 1, 2014 to form Kadokawa Dwango Corporation, and in April 2015 Kodowaka announced it would continue the restructuring process and shed the Kadokawa Shoten brand name along with others. The editorial staff will be consolidated in a new department structure.
Analysis & Key Developments
Total revenue for Kadokawa Corporation fell to 151 billion JPY in 2014 from 162 billion JPY in 2013. Sales from Kadokawa Shoten dropped slightly, to 94.66 billion JPY from 94.75 billion JPY in 2013.
In October 2014, Kadokawa Corporation and Dwango merged to become Kadokawa Dwango Corporation. Dwango Co., Ltd. was established in 1997 as a game development company, and has achieved significant growth through its content distribution services for mobile devices. Dwango also operates Niconico, one of the largest video-sharing web services in Japan.
Kadokawa Corporation’s restructuring will cause the group’s traditional publishing company Kadokawa Shoten to be consolidated along with light novel publisher Fujimi Shobo into a new department structure: Business, Life, and Culture; Comics and Character; Magazine Brand; ASCII Media Works; and Enterbrain.
Kadokawa’s restructuring caused a push in corporate revenues, from 147 billion JPY in 2012 to 161 billion JPY in fiscal year 2014 (ending in March 2013).
Fiscal year 2013, the relevant time period for the Global Publishing Leaders ranking, period of time, saw revenues of 86 billion JPY, up from 76 billion JPY in 2011.
Based on Kadokawa’s detailed financial breakdown in its 2012 annual report, revenues from not only book publishing, but also from digital publishing and overseas activities (notably in Taiwan) have been included in this report. Overall, revenues from these ventures rose to 86.10 billion JPY in 2012 (from 75.83 billion JPY in 2011 on a like-for-like basis). Digital sales alone have increased by 43% per year.
Emerging from a difficult economic environment in Japan, Kadokawa reported a return to profitability in 2011. Revenues from the book business rose for the ninth consecutive year in 2011 with sales of anime-based “light novels” (“bunku”), representing 42.2 % of overall sales.
In fall 2013, Kadokawa underwent a radical makeover and became Kadokawa Corporation, which integrated nine subsidiaries into one new entity positioned under a high digital growth strategy.
Kadokawa defined its strategic vision to become a “Mega Software Publisher” and “Mega Applications Provider”, and to become a “platform provider” in the digital era. As a consequence, Kadokawa has started to reposition its entire company and strategy by aiming toward mobile device users. An internal merger brought together Kadokawa Shoten Co., Ltd. and Kadokawa Pictures Inc. in order to integrate publishing with other media ventures.
Taiwan and Hongkong were at the center of Kadokawa’s international efforts until 2014, when Kadokawa expanded its strategy to become “a truly global entertainment enterprise, with a focus on overseas expansion,” according to executive Masaki Matsubara.
In 2010 Kadokawa established Guangzhou Tianwen Kadokawa Animation & Comics Co., Ltd. (non-consolidated), a joint venture established in Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province, through a capital alliance with the Hunan Publishing Investment Holding Group, a Chinese state owned publishing conglomerate.
With e-books at more than 14 billion JPY, Kadokawa’s digital revenues are matched only by Shogakukan.
Kadokawa launched an industry-wide e-book distribution platform in spring 2014 called ComicWalker, which is available online as well as via an App. Many of its core brands are offered in English, such as Gundam and Evangelion. The app will start off with 200 manga titles, including classics such as Mobile Suit Gundam and Sgt. Frog. The platform is expected to include French versions of manga in the future.
In 2012, Kadokawa launched the e-book platform Book Walker, which continues to be a main focus of business strategy for the company. With a partnership form Apple, Kadokawa intends to push Book Walker to compete with Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Kobo. The company acquiried Dwango Co. Ltd. and formed an alliance of GREE, Inc. to develop the platform into a major entertainment platform. 7,000 titles were made available on Book Walker as of 2012.
The Media Factory division has been at the core of efforts to expand Kadokawa’s value chain for “light novels” and “comic essay for women” as well as children’s books. The division has also driven growth with the creation of original games since 2009.
In April 2011, Kadokawa also entered the Android market, overseen by “Kadokawa Contents Gate Co. A new service, “Fan+,” was launched in cooperation with the Japanese TV company NTT.