Kodansha is the largest publisher in Japan, currently headquartered in Bunkyo, Tokyo. They produce a wide variety of popular manga magazines such as Nakayoshi and Shonen Magazine, as well as more literary endeavors such as Gunzo and Shukan Gendai.
Founded in 1909 by Seiji Noma, Kodansha was originally a part of the Dai-Nippon Yubenkai (Greater Japan Oratorical Society). The name of the company was not officially use until 1911 when the publisher merged with the society. Going into the 1930s, Kodansha established itself as a leader in magazine publishing and in 1949, after the installation of Shoichi Noma as the company president, they focused on book publishing. The current legal name of the company has been in use since it was incorporated in 1958.
Among Kodansha’s many financial interests are ownership of the Otowa Group and the Nikkan Gendai, a Japanese tabloid. In addition, Kodansha has business ties with Disney, and is a sponsor of Tokyo Disneyland.
At the peak of its success, Kodansha grossed more than ¥200 billion. Recent economic conditions have caused a downturn in revenues however, with the low point being a 2002 loss, the first time since World War II the company had failed to make a profit.
In 1960 Kodansha established an award for exemplary Mangaka, which was later renamed in 1977 as the Kodansha Manga Award (the name it still uses today). The award was designed to reward those Mangaka who had produced exemplary Manga products in Kodonsha Manga publications (of which there are today more than twenty. The award is among the oldest of its kind and is highly regarded in the Mangaka community to this day.