VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry’s most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies, has announced that one of its parent companies, Japanese publisher Shueisha, Inc., has made an investment in Shogakukan Production Company Ltd., the licensing and merchandising subsidiary of Japanese publisher Shogakukan, Inc., another of VIZ Media’s parent companies. ShoPro will be renamed Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions Co., Ltd.
Representatives from both Shueisha and Shogakukan stated in a recent press conference in Japan that the strategic move was made to give more flexibility in developing titles for the overseas marketplace, including the burgeoning graphic novel/manga market in North America and Europe, and to streamline internal operations. Masao Yagi has been named President of the new Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions Co., Ltd.
Since it was established in 1967, ShoPro has handled a variety of popular properties related to Shogakukan manga and animated properties, such as POK?©MON, DORAEMON, INUYASHA, HAMTARO, DETECTIVE CONAN, and MEGAMAN, as well as other third-party licenses for the Japanese market. As a result of Shueisha’s investment, Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions will now handle properties related to manga from both Shogakukan and Shueisha.
‘The formation of Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions by two of our key parent companies will undoubtedly speed the licensing process of future properties for domestic release,’ says Hidemi Fukuhara, CEO, VIZ Media. ‘Our close relationship with both Shueisha and Shogakukan has played a key role in the success of VIZ Media and allows us to continually offer some of the best and most unique manga titles from Japan. We look forward to working with Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions to prepare new properties for release in North America as well as for other emerging markets in Europe and Oceania.’
VIZ Media was established in 1986 with seed money from Shogakukan under the name VIZ Communications. Shueisha became an investor in VIZ in 2002, and was a key collaborator on the development of SHONEN JUMP magazine, which is the leading monthly manga anthology in North America. When VIZ and Shogakukan’s ShoPro Entertainment merged in 2005, the new company was named VIZ Media.