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KADOKAWA and Media-Participations Form Joint Venture for Manga and Comics in Europe

New Paris-Based Company to Boost Japanese and Korean Content Distribution in French Market
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KADOKAWA, a prominent Japanese entertainment company, is set to make a strategic expansion in the European market through a joint venture with Media-Participations Paris and its comics publisher Editions Dupuis SA. This partnership, formalized on January 25, 2024, will see the creation of a new company, spinning off Edition Dupuis’ Asian manga and comics publishing label, Vega, into an independent entity.

KADOKAWA will acquire a majority 51% stake in the new venture, while Edition Dupuis will retain a 49% stake. Slated for establishment after May 2024 and headquartered in Paris, the company will initially focus on publishing translations of Japanese manga, light novels, and Korean works for the French-speaking world.

Edition Dupuis, a century-old leader in European comics publishing, is renowned for iconic works like “The Smurfs,” “Lucky Luke,” and “Gaston Lagaffe.” However, it has lagged in the rapidly growing field of Japanese manga translation and publication in France. The Vega label, launched in 2021, aims to bridge this gap, and the joint venture with KADOKAWA is expected to significantly boost these efforts.

The collaboration intends to leverage Media Participacio’s robust publishing distribution infrastructure and expertise in sales and promotion. The new company will not only distribute Japanese and Korean works but also explore creating comic versions of European-originated works. This indicates a move beyond mere translation and publishing, with considerations for digital manga and novel platforms as part of future expansion plans.

For KADOKAWA, this venture marks a crucial step in strengthening its presence in the European market, particularly in France and other French-speaking regions. Despite its success in Asia and North America, KADOKAWA has trailed behind competitors like Shogakukan and Shueisha in Europe. The partnership with a major European publisher is a strategic move to tap into the thriving French market, known for its deep-rooted appreciation for bande dessinée and a growing appetite for Japanese manga.

This venture follows KADOKAWA’s establishment of JNC Nina, a digital subscription service for Japanese light novels, in Berlin, Germany, last October. This expansion into Europe aligns with KADOKAWA’s broader strategy to diversify its global reach and capitalize on the burgeoning demand for Asian entertainment content in the European market.

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