As part of a restructuring of the American subsidiaries of Kodansha, a major Japanese manga and prose publisher, Alvin Lu, formerly general manager of Kodansha Advanced Media, has been named president and CEO of Kodansha USA Publishing.
Under the restructuring, Kodansha’s U.S. subsidiaries, which include Vertical Inc., a New York-based Japanese manga and prose house acquired by Kodansha in 2011, and Kodansha Advanced Media, which oversees distribution of Kodansha’s digital content, will now be consolidated under Kodansha USA Publishing. Kodansha USA Publishing is headquartered in New York City, with satellite offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Also under the restructuring, Takashi Sakuda has been named COO of Kodansha USA Publishing and Kiichiro Sugawara has been named publisher. In addition, Ivan Salazar, formerly pr and events specialist at Comixology, Amazon’s digital comics vendor, will join Kodansha USA Publishing as senior marketing director. In his former role at Comixology, Salazar worked closely with Lu to choose popular Kodansha manga series (among them, BECK, Initial D and Drops of God) to distribute in the U.S. market via the Comixology Originals line of exclusive digital content.
Kohei Furukawa, senior v-p and board member of Tokyo-based Kodansha Ltd, said “Kodansha has more than 50 years of publishing history in the U.S., and we aim to accelerate and expand our global business by setting North America as its main pillar. We believe the consolidation will strengthen our corporate equity and enhance more efficient and speedy business operation.”
Furukawa praised Lu for his “long years of experience in the U.S. market” building a successful digital business around Kodansha content. He emphasized that “we believe the future of our global business should be not limited to traditional publishing. We seek to challenge conventions.”
Lu said that Kodansha has “enjoyed a decade of pronounced growth—both domestically and in its overseas markets—off the strength of a string of hit manga properties including Attack on Titan, anime and Hollywood adaptations, and a well-navigated transition to the digital marketplace. The time is right to build on this momentum through the formation of a twenty-first-century global content publisher."