ASCII Corporation

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ASCII Corporation
SVG ASCII logo.svg
Parent company Kadokawa Corporation
StatusFolded into ASCII Media Works
Founded1977;42 years ago (1977)
Founder Kazuhiko Nishi
Keiichiro Tsukamoto
Successor ASCII Media Works, Agetec, and Enterbrain
Country of originJapan
Headquarters location Chiyoda, Tokyo
Key peopleKiyoshi Takano, President
Publication types Computer magazines, Video games
No. of employees197 (as of March 31, 2006)
Official website

ASCII Corporation(株式会社アスキー,Kabushiki kaisha Asukī) was a publishing company based in Tokyo, Japan. It became a subsidiary of Kadokawa Group Holdings in 2004, and merged with another Kadokawa subsidiary MediaWorks on April 1, 2008, and became ASCII Media Works. [1] [2] The company published Monthly ASCII as the main publication.

Tokyo Metropolis in Kantō

Tokyo, officially Tokyo Metropolis, one of the 47 prefectures of Japan, has served as the Japanese capital since 1869. As of 2018, the Greater Tokyo Area ranked as the most populous metropolitan area in the world. The urban area houses the seat of the Emperor of Japan, of the Japanese government and of the National Diet. Tokyo forms part of the Kantō region on the southeastern side of Japan's main island, Honshu, and includes the Izu Islands and Ogasawara Islands. Tokyo was formerly named Edo when Shōgun Tokugawa Ieyasu made the city his headquarters in 1603. It became the capital after Emperor Meiji moved his seat to the city from Kyoto in 1868; at that time Edo was renamed Tokyo. Tokyo Metropolis formed in 1943 from the merger of the former Tokyo Prefecture and the city of Tokyo. Tokyo is often referred to as a city but is officially known and governed as a "metropolitan prefecture", which differs from and combines elements of a city and a prefecture, a characteristic unique to Tokyo.

MediaWorks, Inc. was a Japanese publishing company in the Kadokawa Group known for their Dengeki brand magazines and book labels. These included such well-known magazines as Dengeki Daioh, and Dengeki G's Magazine, along with MediaWorks' main light novel publishing imprint Dengeki Bunko. The company was merged with ASCII on April 1, 2008, and became ASCII Media Works. They mainly catered to the Japanese male otaku crowd, covering such topics as anime, light novels, manga, plastic modelling, and visual novels. However, MediaWorks had published three magazines targeted towards females—Comic Sylph, Dengeki Girl's Style, and Character Parfait—but each one was a special edition version of another magazine. MediaWorks ran yearly contests for original novel and manga submissions, such as the light novel Dengeki Novel Prize contest.

ASCII Media Works Japanese publishing company

ASCII Media Works, formerly ASCII Media Works, Inc., is a Japanese publisher and brand company of Kadokawa Corporation headquartered in Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan. It originally formed on April 1, 2008 as a result of a merger between ASCII Corporation and MediaWorks where MediaWorks legally absorbed ASCII. Despite this, the former president and CEO of ASCII, Kiyoshi Takano, became the first president and CEO of ASCII Media Works. It became an internal division of Kadokawa Corporation on October 1, 2013.



1977–1990: Founding and first projects

ASCII was founded in 1977 by Kazuhiko Nishi and Keiichiro Tsukamoto. Originally a publisher of a magazine with the same name ASCII , talks between Bill Gates and Nishi led to a creation of Microsoft's first overseas sales office, ASCII Microsoft, in 1979. [3] [4] Nishi was also known for his role in marketing the MSX in 1983, an 8-bit standard computer well known in the former USSR and Japan. In 1984, ASCII engaged itself in semiconductor business, followed by a further expansion into commercial online service in 1985 under the brand of ASCII-NET. As the popularity of home video game systems soared in the 1980s, ASCII became active in the development and publishing of software and peripherals for popular consoles such as the Family Computer and Mega Drive. After Microsoft's public stock offering in 1986, ASCII Microsoft was dissolved. [3] At around the same time, the company was also obliged to reform itself as a result of its aggressive diversification in the first half of the 1980s. [5] The company went public in 1989.

Kazuhiko "Kay" Nishi is a Japanese businessman and personal computer pioneer.

<i>ASCII</i> (magazine) japanese personal computer magazine

ASCII (アスキー) was a monthly released microcomputer magazine in Japan, published by ASCII Corporation from 1977. It targeted for business users who used a personal computer in their home and office, but it sometimes introduced computer games and computer musics. It was also known as the Monthly ASCII (月刊アスキー) written along with the title from Vol. 2 No. 4, and distinguish with the Weekly ASCII (週刊アスキー) founded in 1997. The ASCII was rebranded as the Business ASCII (ビジネスアスキー) in 2008, and ceased in 2010. Its news website and the Weekly ASCII are continuing as in 2016.

Bill Gates American business magnate and philanthropist

William Henry Gates III is an American business magnate, investor, author, philanthropist, humanitarian, and programmer. He is best known as the principal founder of the Microsoft Corporation. During his career at Microsoft, Gates held the positions of chairman, CEO and chief software architect, while also being the largest individual shareholder until May 2014.

1989–2000: Satellites and later projects

ASCII's revenue in its fiscal year ending March 1996 was 56 billion yen, broken down by sectors: Publication (52.5% or 27.0 billion yen), Game entertainment (27.8% or 14.3 billion yen), Systems & semiconductors (10.8% or 6 billion yen) and others. [5] Despite its struggles to remain focused on its core businesses, the company continued to suffer from accumulated debts, until an arrangement was set up that CSK Corporation execute a major investment into ASCII in 1997. [6]

In the mid-90s, ASCII acquired the company Something Good, and renamed it to ASCII Something Good, through which they developed 3 Sega Saturn Games: AI Shougi (1995), AI Igo (1997), AI Shougi 2 (1998).

Sega Saturn video game console

The Sega Saturn is a 32-bit fifth-generation home video game console developed by Sega and released on November 22, 1994 in Japan, May 11, 1995 in North America, and July 8, 1995 in Europe. The successor to the successful Sega Genesis, the Saturn has a dual-CPU architecture and eight processors. Its games are in CD-ROM format, and its game library contains several arcade ports as well as original games.

ASCII had become popular in the software market that it branched out and created an American satellite in 1991 known as ASCII Entertainment. To focus on supporting the interactive entertainment channel in America, startup company Agetec (for "Ascii Game Entertainment TEChnology") was spun off as an independent corporation in 1998 and later became a fully independent publisher one year later. Co-founder Tsukamoto had left ASCII to create a company of his own in 1992, named Impress. [7]

Software non-tangible executable component of a computer

Computer software, or simply software, is a collection of data or computer instructions that tell the computer how to work. This is in contrast to physical hardware, from which the system is built and actually performs the work. In computer science and software engineering, computer software is all information processed by computer systems, programs and data. Computer software includes computer programs, libraries and related non-executable data, such as online documentation or digital media. Computer hardware and software require each other and neither can be realistically used on its own.

Satellite Human-made object put into an orbit

In the context of spaceflight, a satellite is an artificial object which has been intentionally placed into orbit. Such objects are sometimes called artificial satellites to distinguish them from natural satellites such as Earth's Moon.

Agetec Inc. was an American video game publishing company that is best known for bringing Japanese titles to the United States. The company was formed through ASCII Corporation spinning off their American distribution subsidiary as an independent corporation in 1998, and later became a standalone publisher one year later.

2000–2008: Ownership changes and dissolution

On November 26, 2001 CSK Corporation and Unison Capital Partners L.P. announced the approval of transferring the control of its subsidiary ASCII to Unison Capital Partners L.P., effective on 2002-03-30, as part of the strategy to focus the CSK's group operations on B2B businesses. [8] [9] The transfer was approved on December 21, 2001. [10] As a part of deal, ASCII's outstanding debt owed to CSK was forgiven, and under Unison's control, the ASCII's Enterbrain and IT publishing divisions would maintain autonomy, while ASCII was restructured to concentrate on PC and IT publishing businesses.

Business-to-business Commercial transaction between businesses

Business-to-business is a situation where one business makes a commercial transaction with another. This typically occurs when:

On May 28, 2002, Unison Media Partners announced ASCII would become its fully owned subsidiary of via share exchange, and ASCII would be delisted, effective on October 1, 2002. [11] On November 18, 2002, the Astroarts subsidiary was renamed to ASCII, while ASCII was renamed to MediaLeaves. [12] The former Astroarts subsidiary would inherit the publishing business of the former ASCII. On January 29, 2004, Unison Capital Partners, L.P. announced the sale of ASCII's parent company MediaLeaves to Kadokawa Group Holdings, to be completed on 2004-03. [13] [14]

On September 27, 2007, Kadokawa Group Holdings announced the merger between subsidiaries MediaWorks and ASCII under the name ASCII Media Works, effective on April 1, 2008. [1] [2] The merger was approved in 2008. [15] On January 10, 2010, the formerly named ASCII company MediaLeaves was merged into Enterbrain, dissolving the last of the ASCII entity. [16]

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  1. 1 2 子会社の合併に関するお知らせ (PDF) (in Japanese). Kadokawa Group Holdings. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-08.
  2. 1 2 "Kadokawa Group to Merge ASCII, MediaWorks Subsidiaries". Anime News Network. 2007-10-02. Archived from the original on 7 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-30.
  3. 1 2 Allan, Roy A. (2001). A History of the Personal Computer. Allan Publishing. pp. 31, 65. ISBN   0-9689108-0-7.
  4. Quote from Bill Gates' The Road Ahead, found in Lessem, Ronnie (1998). Management development through cultural diversity. Routledge. pp. 160–161. ISBN   0-415-17875-4.
  5. 1 2 Toda, Satoru (戸田覚) (1997). A quick map to Information and Telecommunications makrket (情報・通信業界早わかりマップ). Kō Shobō (こう書房). pp. 130–135. ISBN   4-7696-0606-0.
  6. "Ascii to join CSK group". The Japan Times. Dec 25, 1997. Retrieved 2009-04-22.
  7. Impress Holdings website Archived February 16, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  8. "CSK Corporation to Transfer ASCII to Unison Capital Partners L.P." CSK. 2001-11-26. Archived from the original on December 1, 2008. Retrieved 2009-04-22.
  9. "アスキーの経営権取得に関する基本合意書締結について" (PDF). 2001-11-26.
  10. "CSK Corporation Formalizes Contract to Transfer ASCII to Unison Capital Partners L.P." CSK. 2001-12-21. Archived from the original on December 1, 2008.
  11. "株式会社アスキーとの株式交換契約締結について" (PDF). Unison. 2002-05-28.
  12. "アスキーが社名変更". 2002-11-18.
  13. "株式会社メディアリーヴス株式の公開買付への応募について" (PDF). Unison. 2004-01-29.
  14. "Kadokawa buys ASCII (アスキー、角川が買収へ)". IT Media, Inc. (in Japanese). 2004-01-29. Archived from the original on 27 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-22.
  15. 子会社の合併に関する経過のお知らせ (PDF) (in Japanese). Kadokawa Group Holdings . Retrieved 2008-02-08.
  16. "MediaLeaves, Inc. announcement" (in Japanese). Archived from the original on October 28, 2010.