Iwanami Shoten

Iwanami Shoten, Publishers (株式会社岩波書店, Kabushiki Gaisha Iwanami Shoten) is a Japanese publishing company based in Tokyo.[1]

Iwanami Shoten
Iwanami Shoten.gif
FounderShigeo Iwanami
Country of originJapan
Headquarters locationTokyo
Publication typesBooks
Official websitewww.iwanami.co.jp

Iwanami Shoten was founded in 1913 by Iwanami Shigeo. Its first major publication was Natsume Sōseki's novel Kokoro, which appeared as a book in 1914 after being serialized in the Asahi Shimbun. Iwanami has since become known for scholarly publications, editions of classical Japanese literature, dictionaries, and high-quality paperbacks. Since 1955, it has published the Kōjien, a single-volume dictionary of Japanese that is widely considered to be authoritative.

Iwanami's head office is at Hitotsubashi 2–5–5, Chiyoda, Tokyo.[2]

Company historyEdit

Iwanami Shoten

Iwanami Shigeo founded the publishing firm Iwanami Shoten in the Kanda district of Tokyo in 1913. In its early years, the company published authors such as Natsume Sōseki, Kurata Hyakuzō and Abe Jiro. It also published academic and literary journals in the field of philosophy, including Shijo (1917) and Shicho (1921), science, including Kagaku (1931), and literature, such as Bungaku (1933). In 1927, it launched the Iwanami Bunko (Iwanami Library), a "major series of international works".[1]

During the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Second World War, the firm was repeatedly censored because of its positions against the war and the Emperor. Iwanami Shigeo was even sentenced to two months in prison for the publication of the banned works of Tsuda Sōkichi (a sentence which he did not serve, however). Shortly before his death in 1946, he founded the newspaper Sekai, which had a great influence in post-war Japanese intellectual circles.[3]

In 1955, the company released its Japanese language dictionary, Kōjien, which is highly regarded today and sold more than eleven million copies in 2007.[4] During the post-war decades, it continued to publish numerous foreign classics as well as encyclopedias. In 2010, around 20,000 titles were released by Iwanami Shoten.

Book seriesEdit

  • Iwanami Bunko (岩波文庫) (English, "Iwanami Paperback Library") (1927)
  • Iwanami Gendai Bunko (岩波現代文庫) (English, "Iwanami Modern Paperback Library") (2000)
  • Iwanami Gendai Zensho (岩波現代全書) (English, "Iwanami Modern Complete Books")
  • Iwanami Kōza Sekai Shichō (岩波講座世界思潮) (English, "Iwanami Lectures on Trends in World Thought") (1928)[5][6] - often referred to in short as Iwanami Koza (岩波講座) (English, "Iwanami Lectures" or "Iwanami Courses")
  • Iwanami Shashin Bunko (岩波写真文庫), (English, "Iwanami Photo Library")
  • Iwanami Shinsho (岩波新書) (English, "Iwanami Trade Paperbacks")
  • Iwanami Sugaku Sosho (岩波数学叢書) (English, "Iwanami Mathematics Series")
  • Koza Nihon Eiga (講座・日本映画) (English, "A Course on Japanese Film" or "Lectures on Japanese Film") (1985)[7]
  • Nihon Koten Bungaku Taikei (日本古典文学大系) (English, "Japanese Classical Literature System") (1967)
  • Yūtopia Ryokō-ki Sōsho (ユートピア旅行記叢書) (English, "Utopia Travel Journal") (1996-2002)


  1. ^ a b Louis Frédéric, Japan Encyclopedia, Harvard University Press, 2005, p. 409.
  2. ^ "会社案内 Archived 2014-06-27 at the Wayback Machine." Iwanami Shoten. Retrieved on June 3, 2014. "【本  社】 〒101-8002 東京都千代田区一ツ橋2丁目5番5号" - Map in Japanese()
  3. ^ Joseph K. Yamagiwa (September 1955). "Literature and Politics in the Japanese Magazine, Sekai". Public Affairs. 28 (3): 254–268. JSTOR 3035405.
  4. ^ `Uzai'`ike-men' mo tōjō, Kōjien 10-nen-buri kaitei, Yomiuri Shimbun, 23 October 2007. Retrieved 15 June 2022.
  5. ^ Sandra Buckley, ed. The Encyclopedia of Contemporary Japanese Culture, London and New York: Routledge, 2002, "Iwanami publishing house" (entry), p. 225. Retrieved 21 October 2022.
  6. ^ Nathan Shockey, The Typographic Imagination: Reading and Writing in Japan’s Age of Modern, New York: Columbia University Press, 2020 (Studies in the Weatherhead East Asia Institute). Retrieved 22 October 2022.
  7. ^ Koza Nihon Eiga (Iwanami Shoten) - Book Series List, publishinghistory.com. Retrieved 17 June 2022.

External linksEdit