Kodansha is a family-run company that was originally established in 1909 when founder Seiji Noma launched the magazine Yuben. The company as it is known today, however, takes its name from another magazine, Kodan Club, launched in 1911 and featuring kodan, or traditional Japanese stories. Focused on creating magazines that were both enjoyable and useful, Noma went on to add further titles targeted at specific demographic groups. By the 1930s, a stable of nine best-selling magazines had turned Kodansha into one of Japan's leading publishing houses - a position it has retained to the present day.
Now, under Sawako Noma, company president since 1987, Kodansha continues to play a dominant role in book and magazine publishing. As Kodansha celebrates its centennial year in 2009, it continues with its original mission of bringing the joy of reading to the widest possible public while also proactively embracing all the new challenges of the rapidly evolving global media landscape.