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. Kadokawa Shoten was renamed Kadokawa Holdings in 2003 and Kadokawa Group Holdings on July 1, 2006. The group inherited the management and integrated publishing businesses within Kadokawa Shoten in January 2007. 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.
The Kadokawa Group is working to move beyond its existing publishing business to expand in film and web video projects and mobile apps, as well as develop business overseas with an emphasis on Asia. In fall 2013, Kadokawa restructured based on a “one company” model, integrating nine subsidiaries to become Kadokawa 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
Overall revenue in the fiscal year ending March 2016 declined against 2015, yet continued to hold at higher levels than 2014 and was on target for the company. However, profits fell below expectations, with disappointing revenue from books and rights sales.
In 2017, results slightly improved in both revenue (to 113 billion JPY) and operating income (to 8.3 billion JPY), with particularly the paper book business driving the publications’ division. The brand integration of Kadokawa as a major publisher increased the Company’s pricing power in distribution and in the copyright business.
In a strategic move, the major Chinese Internet service provider Tencent became the second largest shareholder of Guangzhou Tianwen Kadokawa Animation & Comics, Co., LTD. during 2016.
In April 2016 Hachette Book Group and Kadokawa announced the creation of their new joint venture, with HBG’s Yen Press imprint, a leader in the US publication of Japanese manga and light novels.
Also during April 2016 Kadokawa announced its strategic alliance with “crunchyroll,” a distributor, publisher, licensing company and global platform for Japanese anime and Asian content.
In December 2016 Kadokawa and Thailand’s leading publisher Amarin Printing & Publishing PCL. announced the imprint Kadokawa Amarin, which aims to distribute Japanese content in the Thai language.
Kadokawa launched Kakuyomu, a site for web novels, in 2016.
Reki Kawahara’s Sword Art Online series, published by Kadokawas imprint Dengeki Bunko, surpassed 19 million copies worldwide in 2016.