Kodansha Limited (株式会社講談社, Kabushiki-gaisha Kōdansha), the largest Japanese publisher, produces the manga magazines Nakayoshi, Afternoon, Evening, and Weekly Shonen Magazine, as well as more literary magazines such as Gunzō, Shūkan Gendai, and the Japanese dictionary Nihongo Daijiten. The company has its headquarters in Bunkyō, Tokyo. As of 2010[update] the Noma family—relatives of the founder—continues to own Kodansha.
Seiji Noma (Noma Seiji) founded Kodansha in 1909 as a spinoff of the Dai-Nippon Yūbenkai (Greater Japan Oratorical Society) and produced the literary magazine Yūben as its first publication. The name Kodansha (taken from "Kōdan Club", a now defunct magazine published by the company) originated in 1911 when the publisher formally merged with the Dai-Nippon Yūbenkai. The company has used its current[update] legal name since 1958. It uses the motto Omoshirokute tame ni naru ("To be interesting and beneficial").
Kodansha Limited owns the Otowa Group, which manages subsidiary companies such as King Records and Kobunsha, and publishes Nikkan Gendai, a daily tabloid. It also has close ties with The Walt Disney Company, and officially sponsors Tokyo Disneyland.
The largest publisher in Japan, Kodansha once had an annual revenue of more than ¥200 billion. Revenues dropped due to the 2002 recession in Japan and an accompanying downturn in the publishing industry: the company posted a loss in the 2002 financial year for the first time since the end of the World War II. (The second-largest publisher, Shogakukan, has done relatively better. In the 2003 financial year, Kodansha had revenues of ¥167 billion, as compared to ¥150 billion for Shogakukan. Kodansha at its peak led Shogakukan by over ¥50 billion in revenue.)
Kodansha sponsors the prestigious Kodansha Manga Award, which has run in its current[update] form since 1977 (and since 1960 under other names).
Kodansha's headquarters in Tokyo once housed Noma Dōjō, a kendo practice-hall established by Seiji Noma in 1925. The hall was demolished in November 2007, however, and replaced it with a dōjō in a new building nearby.
The company announced that it was closing its English-language publishing house, Kodansha International, at the end of April 2011.