Corporate History

1876-1944

Shueisha, the predecessor of DNP, was founded in the Ginza district of Tokyo in 1876, shortly after Japan's Meiji Restoration. The impetus for its establishment came from the founders' passionate desire to help raise the level of people's knowledge and culture through letterpress printing.
Shueisha's first major job was the printing of a revised Japanese translation of Samuel Smiles' “Self-Help,” which became a best seller and imparted courage to young Japanese. It was the first Western-style book made entirely in Japan, with Shuseisha even developing the paperboard used for the cover.
In 1886, Shueisha built a factory in Tokyo's Ichigaya district. In 1923, after the Great Kanto Earthquake, the Company's head office functions were consolidated in Ichigaya. In the late 1920s, the introduction of low-priced collections of literary works led to the "one-yen book boom." After it ran its course, Japan's printing industry faced hard times. In 1935, Shueisha made a fresh start by merging with Nisshin Printing Co., Ltd. to form Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd.

Company headquarters around 1887Company headquarters around 1887

“Self-Help” by Samuel Smiles: first book made entirely in Japan using Western-style bookbinding“Self-Help” by Samuel Smiles: first book made entirely in Japan using Western-style bookbinding

Fonts cast by ShueishaFonts cast by Shueisha

First Plant in Ichigaya, around 1887First Plant in Ichigaya, around 1887

Inaugural issue of “King” magazine, published by Dai-Nippon Yubenkai KodanshaInaugural issue of “King” magazine, published by Dai-Nippon Yubenkai Kodansha

1876
Oct. 9   Shueisha, the predecessor of Dai Nippon Printing, founded in Ginza, Tokyo
1877
   Printed revised edition of “Self-Help,” translated by Masanao Nakamura, the first book with Western-style binding made entirely in Japan using letterpress printing
1878
Jan.  Adopted first company rules, expressing the founders' intentions to contribute to civilization through printing
1881
Jul.  Began casting printing type
1882
Sep.  Founded Seibundo and began selling printing type
1886
Nov.  Built Ichigaya Plant in Tokyo
1889
Jan. 17  Teiichi Sakuma became president
1890
Feb.  Began printing the "Kokumin Shimbun" daily newspaper. Established a branch factory within Minyusha in Tokyo
1891
Feb. 28  Teiichi Sakuma enlisted the help of a co-founder, Hisanari Yasuda and established Insatsu Zasshi Co., Ltd., which issued "Printing Magazine"
1894
Jan. 19   Shueisha established and registered as a joint stock company
1895
Dec. 22  Completed expansion of main factory, Japan's first building using a steel frame and bricks
1899
Apr. 30  Used intaglio plates to print 100-yen Osaka Municipal port construction bond certificates (followed by printing of 500-yen certificates as well)
1907
Apr. 4  Established Nisshin Printing Co., Ltd.
Opened Enokicho Plant
1910
Aug. 10  Issued “Type Specimens”
1911
Feb.  Completed matrix using Western point-based sizing (for 9-point type)
1912
Feb.  Issued “Type Specimens” of size 2 type (based on Japanese sizing system)
Completed third revision of Shueitai font
1916 Apr.  Began offset printing with the introduction of our first 788x1091mm offset printing machine
1923
Sep. 1  Head office and type sales department burned in the Great Kanto Earthquake
Oct.15  Moved head office to Ichigaya, Tokyo
1924
Nov.   Launch of “King” magazine by Dai-Nippon Yubenkai Kodansha (currently Kodansha Ltd.). Shueisha was chosen to print "King."
Established a framework for mass production
1926
Dec. 3  Shueisha won the contract for printing an anthology series of modern Japanese literature issued by Kaizosha.
Start of the “one-yen book” boom
1927
Jul. 10  Launch of Iwanami paperbacks (by Iwanami Shoten, Publishers)
Nov. 26  Opened Ginza type sales office at current site of Ginza Graphic Gallery (ggg)
Dec. 30  Opening of Japan’s first subway line (from Ueno to Asakusa)
1928
Sep. 12  Nisshin Printing Co., Ltd. acquired Tsujimoto Shashin Kogeisha. Began Japan's first gravure printing in primary colors
1932
Oct. 1  Nisshin Printing Co., Ltd. opened Osaki factory
1935
Feb. 26   Changed name to Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd. following merger between Shueisha and Nisshin Printing Co., Ltd.
Giichi Masuda became president
1941
May 24  Hiromu Aoki became president
Dec. 8  The Japanese military attacked Pearl Harbor; start of the Pacific War
1943
Dec. 23  Chokichiro Sakuma became president
1944
   Launched the Technical Research Laboratory