By SETSUKO KAMIYA and MIZUHO AOKI
Kodansha International Ltd., a leading English-language publisher of translated books on Japan, is closing down by the end of April, sources said Thursday.
Contacted by The Japan Times, company President Koji Hirota confirmed that the company was folding but declined to give details, saying it was the decision of the parent company, Kodansha Ltd.
The head of PR for Kodansha Ltd., one of the largest publishing firms in Japan, was unavailable to comment Thursday.
However, the decision follows the company’s announcement of key changes in its business operations for overseas markets.
At a Feb. 23 press conference, incoming President Yoshinobu Noma said he would focus on digital publishing and overseas markets. To that end, he announced that Kodansha and Dai Nippon Printing had acquired Vertical Inc., a New York-based publisher of contemporary Japanese books, mainly popular and graphic novels.
Noma, 42, currently senior executive vice president, will be promoted to replace his mother, Sawako, 67, by mid-April.
"I’m surprised. I think it would be a shame to let such a fine company die. I hope Kodansha will continue to publish books in English," said Mark Schreiber, a contributor to The Japan Times who has published three books with Kodansha International.
Read more: Japan Times
I agree to the last paragraph. Kodansha should continue publishing books in English. Most of the fans cannot understand Japanese language so English publishers are the only saving grace for us. They’ve acquired Vertical Inc., does that mean that they’re closing Kodansha and Vertical will be the one representing them in Western countries?