New Directions in Growth

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Kurodahan Press currently exists as merely a division of Intercom, Ltd., and is growing slowly. It has considerable potential and a lot of very exciting things happening, but if more people were involved it could be so much better at achieving its mission of bringing East Asian literature to the English-speaking world.

I have been running Intercom as a translation and production firm for over 25 years now, as many people here no doubt know already. We handle translations between Japanese and almost everything, but especially English, Chinese (both) and Korean, with pretty high-end design and layout added. Several years ago, however, I launched Kurodahan Press as a publishing venture designed to handle books in translation, taking advantage of the various skills and capabilities the company has developed over the years.

I am seriously considering transferring all Kurodahan Press assets from Intercom to a new company, and letting Kurodahan Press start to take a different path, not necessarily under me as president. I have several reasons for wanting to do this:

  • I do not have enough time to keep Intercom running effectively while also giving Kurodahan the time it needs to develop the way it should.
  • I do not have all the skills Kurodahan needs. I have learned a heck of a lot over the past few years and have a much better idea of where to go and how to get there, thanks to a lot of mistakes I made along the way, but it would be a lot more effective to team up with people to help, or even to lead.
  • Kurodahan can grow a lot faster and more effectively with more money. The amount of money I can afford to invest is limited, because I have to keep Intercom running and employees paid.
  • Kurodahan needs to go a lot of places and I can't always go. People in Tokyo and the US, for example, would open up a lot of potential.
  • There are a lot of books out there that I know nothing about which deserve to be published in translation. Maybe somebody else can tell me about them.
  • Kurodahan is currently losing money, but that is basically what I expected when I created it. I figured it would take about a decade to start seeing any real profit, and it looks like I was probably realistic. I certainly will continue to invest time and money into Kurodahan and build it up, but it has so much potential that it just isn't realizing right now.

    So, based on all the above, I am looking for people interested in the possibility of forming a new company, Kurodahan Press (probably as an 合同会社/LLC) in Japan to start, with Intercom as one initial investor. The only thing a new investor absolutely must have is an interest in publishing books in translation, from East Asian languages to English or vice-versa. Capital would certainly be useful, but isn't essential: it is just an accelerant.

    Other skills and interests that would be useful would include:

    • Chinese or Korean language skills (book selection, dealing with people speaking those languages, checking translations to/from those languages, etc). Chinese in particular is becoming a pressing need, as I am beginning to make contact with Chinese interested in getting their material in print in English.
    • HTML, Movable Type, PHP, CGI and related Internet skills
    • Japanese language ability (although most people seeing this will probably have that).
    • Native Japanese speakers (and Chinese and Korean, in the future) would be an enormous plus for the company!
    • Knowledge of book publishing, printing, marketing, distribution etc in the US, Japan, EC etc (although I have learned quite a bit by now).
    • A love of some genre of books and a strong desire to see them published in another language (my own favorite genre is SF, but I'm interested in an awful lot of stuff).

    If you are a more laid-back person and would like to be involved in translation, editing and publishing without actually becoming part of a company, you're still welcome. I won't ask you to share any of the expenses, and promise that when (see, I didn't say "if") we do begin to show a profit you'll get a piece of it. Kurodahan is currently a non-profit organization, and if you have no problem working with that type of organization to get more East Asian literature out there in English, by all means drop me a line.

    If you are interested in discussing any of this, by all means please send me an email and let me know!

    Thank you for your time.

    Edward Lipsett
    Fukuoka, Japan

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Kurodahan Press

Kurodahan Press
c/o Intercom, Ltd.
2305-9 Yunomae Machi
Kuma-gun, Kumamoto
868-0600 JAPAN

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