Leader’s diversification of Kadokawa Corp. led to pursuit of Tokyo 2020 sponsorship

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The Kadokawa Corp. head office in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, is seen Wednesday.

In investor relations reports, Kadokawa Corp. Chairman Tsuguhiko Kadokawa used to share his corporate philosophy of always being at the forefront, constantly changing the business and pursuing newness. One of his pursuits was for the company to become a sponsor of the 2020 Tokyo Games.

The special investigation squad of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office has learned that in 2017 Kadokawa dined with the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics organizing committee’s then executive board member Haruyuki Takahashi as well as former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, who was the committee’s president.

At that time, Takahashi was trying to get Kadokawa Corp. and another publisher to become sponsors of the Tokyo 2020 publishing division, and a senior executive from the other publisher also attended the meeting.

The unnamed publishing company later declined to become a sponsor, while Kadokawa Corp. signed a sponsorship agreement.

The 79-year-old Kadokawa, who was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of being involved in a Tokyo 2020 sponsorship bribery scandal, is the second son of the late Genyoshi Kadokawa, the founder in 1945 of what has become Kadokawa Corp.

Kadokawa joined the company in 1966 after graduating from Waseda University. He was at odds with his older brother Haruki, the company’s charismatic second president, over management policies and left the company for a time. In 1993, he returned as an adviser when his brother was indicted for violations of a drug law among other issues and became company president in October.

Kadokawa bolstered the company’s publishing business such as with so-called light novels for young adults, while the company took part in the production and release of hit movies such as “Lost Paradise” and “Ring.”

When the publishing industry was struggling during a recession, Kadokawa pushed new businesses such as e-books and video games to position the company as a “comprehensive media enterprise.”

In 2014, the company merged with Dwango Co., the operator of the Niconico Douga video posting site. Kadokawa Corp. then opened the Kadokawa Culture Museum in Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture, in 2020.

Through the diversification of the company, Kadokawa Corp.’s consolidated sales hit a record ¥221.2 billion for its fiscal year ended March 2022.