According to an article in Publishers Weekly, Kodansha will be opening a new manga publishing division in New York City. They will be using the “Kodansha Comics” brand and will be distributed by Random House. Kodansha is one of, if not the largest, publishing firm in Japan and has been licensing manga to companies like Tokyopop (Cardcaptor Sakura), Del Rey (Negima! Magister Negi Magi), and Dark Horse (Akira) for years. The New York division will be led by V.P. Yoshio Irie. Irie has stated that for now they will be working on publishing their own back catalog, but did not rule out publishing original works in the future.
Del Rey holds many of the more recent licenses from Kodansha, and is also distributed by Random House; so, it will be interesting to see how the two will handle the rights to comics in the future. Kodansha recently let it be known that it is letting all licenses with Tokyopop expire. These titles include Chobits, Rave Master, Beck, Initial D and Sailor Moon. However, Irie has said that “Kodansha Comics doesn’t aim to be the exclusive label for titles from Kodansha,” and since they share the same publishing umbrella with Del Rey, they may continue to license with them. For now, Kodansha has announced two former Dark Horse titles to lead their debut, the aforementioned Akira as well as Shirow Masamune’s Ghost In The Shell, but will continue to announce more titles through the end of the year.
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