Mangablog has brought up a rather interesting rumor: Kodansha Publishing is going to be coming to the U.S. market and open its own manga publishing business. Kodansha is one of the large publishers in Japan, putting out a wide range of titles like Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei and IS, among many others. Those are just the Kodansha titles sitting in my room at the moment. Anyways, the hubub forms around a post over at comics212.net and one of the comments that was left on the site:
I have hesitated to get involved in this (I am a LONG TIME member of the manga biz) but since Chris has actually written something sensible on teh internets regarding the TP situation, I want to add an important event that has, as far as I can tell, gone practically unreported. Kodansha is forming their own manga publishing biz over here and says they will no longer be licensing to Del Rey or Dark Horse or anyone else. In fact, they are aggressively cutting off the existing contracts and at least one company had to make a panicked phone call to their printer to cancel several dozen reprints. This has been in the wind for a couple weeks but it should have leaked out from the BEA, since it was openly announced there. Oddly, no one seems to be discussing it.
If this is true, it certainly explains why Tokyopop has been going through its changes. Cutting back half of their releases, firing off a bunch of people, all because they license a large number of Kodansha's titles. The comments over at PWBeat is a back and forth discussion with Cthulu, the person who dropped this bombshell, and various familiar faces, including Brigid from MangaBlog and Simon from Icarus Comics.
The problem that everyone seems to have (myself included), is that there was no coverage of this on the Internet. I would think that AICN, PWBeat, or Newsarama, which all cover manga, and all covered the BEA, would have jumped all over this, or at least heard about it on the floor of the expo. Plus, I would think we'd hear more from Del Rey in terms of them getting cut out of the Kodansha titles they have licensed. They have slightly different dynamics, being part of a larger publishing company, but I would still think someone would lose a job or two, or we'd at least hear about their stock getting cut back.
For right now, I have a hard time believing this, but if Gia coughs up the money and makes an international call to Kodansha, then we might get word. In the meantime, I've emailed Kodansha asking about it, but who knows if they'll respond.