About Us

Since 1945, Kobunsha has been at the forefront of publishing in Japan through its groundbreaking fiction and nonfiction titles. As a publisher in the fields of literature, history, business, politics, philosophy, art, culture, lifestyle, and fashion, Kobunsha offers readers a wide range of titles from authors both in Japan and overseas through international rights arrangements. We are proud to publish the works of such authors as Tetsuya Honda, Keigo Higashino, Jiro Akagawa, Miyuki Miyabe, Arimasa Osawa and many other award-winning, best-selling Japanese writers.

Our best-selling Japanese fiction titles include Points and Lines by Seicho Matsumoto (over 4 million copies sold), Japan Sinks by Sakyo Komatsu (over 4 million copies sold), Strawberry Night by Tetsuya Honda (over 3 million copies sold; English translation rights sold to St. Martin’s Press), and The Great Passage by Shion Miura (over 1.3 million copies sold; English translation rights sold to Amazon Crossing).

We have also been entrusted with the Japanese editions of internationally acclaimed authors including Hanaya Yanagihara, Malcolm Gladwell, Zhao Ziyang, J.D. Vance, Jean Genet, Jon Ronson, Arthur C. Clarke, and many others. (Please see the list below of our foreign rights acquisition highlights.)

In 1994, Kobunsha established the Kobun Foundation with the aim of promoting mystery novels, a genre for which we have earned a positive reputation. The Foundation has produced many talented writers and has awarded a Grand Prize for Best Mystery Novels annually. In 2006, we launched the Kobunsha New Translations of Classics Library, which instigated a boom in new translations of such classics as The Brothers Karamazov, which sold over 1 million copies in Japan. In an effort to promote excellence in nonfiction for the educated lay reader, we established our Kobunsha Shinsho (Kobunsha New Books) library, which has published many top sellers, among them Why Don’t Laundry Pole Peddlers Go Bankrupt? by Shinya Yamada (over 1 million copies sold), Downwardly Mobile Society by Atsushi Miura (over 800,000 copies sold), and A Bug-Catcher’s Adventures in Africa by Kotaro Ould Maeno, who is also the winner of the 2018 Shinsho Grand Prize.

As a company committed to producing high-quality content for our readers, we also publish a variety of women’s magazines in Japan aimed at a range of age groups and interests.

To learn more about our company and our latest titles, please contact us here.

Foreign Rights Acquisition Highlights:

Thanks, Obama by David Litt (HarperCollins Publishers)
Unleashing Demons by Craig Oliver (Hodder & Stoughton Ltd.)
The Formula: The Universal Laws of Success by Albert-László Barabási (The Marsh Agency)
The Imagineers of War by Sharon Weinberger (Knopf)
A Most Improbable Journey by Walter Alvarez (W.W. Norton)
Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance (William Morris)
So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson (United Agents)
The Isis Hostage by Puk Damsgard (Susanna Lea Associates)
Soccermatics by David Sumpter (Bloomsbury Publishing PLC)
The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House by Kate Anderson Brower (HarperCollins Publishers)
Un été avec Proust by Laura El Makki et al. (Éditions des Équateurs)
Prisoner of the State: The Secret Journal of Premier Zhao Ziyang by Zhao Ziyang (Simon & Schuster, Inc.)
Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell (Janklow & Nesbit Associates)
Games Mother Never Taught You: Corporate Gamesmanship for Women by Betty Lehan Harragan (Ms. Kathleen Harragan)

Notre-Dame-des-Fleurs by Jean Genet (Gallimard)
Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke (David Higham Associates Ltd.)
The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara (Aitkin Alexander Associates Ltd.)

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