Shogakukan is one of Japan's leading manga publishers. The company was founded by Takeo Oga, grandfather of today’s president Masahiro Oga, on August 8,1922, and began in 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 interconnected companies with shared 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.
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.
Shogakukan publishes 64 magazines and an average of 760 new book titles per year, with sales of 22 million copies from a backlist of 9,200. The publisher sells roughly 117 million copies per year of its 13,900 manga titles, and its lists also include roughly 850 magazine books and 4,000 DVDs and videos.
Analysis & Key Developments
After several years of continuous decline in revenues, and significant losses in 2011 and 2012, Shogakukan managed to stabilize its turnover and return to profitability with revenues of 103 billion JPY. In the process the company cut more than 100 of its employees. Revenues from e-books accounted for 14 billion JPY, which surpassed most of its rivals and matched 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 is a member of the ShoPro distribution platform, together with Shueisha and Hakusensha, which also belong to the The Hitotsubashi Group.
Shogakukan and Shueisha have owned Viz Media since 2002. Viz Communications Inc. was founded in 1987 in San Francisco and successfully introduced Japanese comics to North America. 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 Hitotsubashi Group created the Signapore-based Shogakukan Asia for Asia’s markets, and the group is partnering in Europe with various local brands including Kazé in France and Carlsen, Egmont, and Tokyopop in Germany.
Shogakukan publishes dictionaries in partnership with Random House, F.A. Brockhaus, Robert, Librairie Larousse and others.
Shogakukan has significant revenues from e-books (over 14 billion JPY). Shogakukan has created special digital editions for several of its publications, such as the weekly and monthly Shonen series, which launched electronically in 2016.
ShoPro, which Shogakukan operates with Shueisha and Hakusensha, is a distribution company for manga and other media and educational materials. ShoPro distributes publishing products, TV programming and international licensing sales, and cooperates with VIZ Media in the US.