1876-1944 The Birth of Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd.

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 1887
  • “Self-Help” by Samuel Smiles: first book made entirely in Japan using Western-style bookbinding
  • Fonts cast by Shueisha
  • First Plant in Ichigaya, around 1887
  • Inaugural issue of “King” magazine, published by Dai-Nippon Yubenkai Kodansha
1876October 9
Shueisha, the predecessor of Dai Nippon Printing, founded in Ginza, Tokyo
Printed revised edition of “Self-Help,” translated by Masanao Nakamura, the first book with Western-style binding made entirely in Japan using letterpress printing
Adopted first company rules, expressing the founders' intentions to contribute to civilization through printing
Began casting printing type
Founded Seibundo and began selling printing type
Built Ichigaya Plant in Tokyo
1889January 17
Teiichi Sakuma became president
Began printing the "Kokumin Shimbun" daily newspaper. Established a branch factory within Minyusha in Tokyo
1891February 28
Teiichi Sakuma enlisted the help of a co-founder, Hisanari Yasuda and established Insatsu Zasshi Co., Ltd., which issued "Printing Magazine"
1894January 19
Shueisha established and registered as a joint stock company
1895December 22
Completed expansion of main factory, Japan's first building using a steel frame and bricks
1899April 30
Used intaglio plates to print 100-yen Osaka Municipal port construction bond certificates (followed by printing of 500-yen certificates as well)
1907April 4
Established Nisshin Printing Co., Ltd.
Opened Enokicho Plant
1910August 10
Issued “Type Specimens”
Completed matrix using Western point-based sizing (for 9-point type)
Issued “Type Specimens” of size 2 type (based on Japanese sizing system)
Completed third revision of Shueitai font
Began offset printing with the introduction of our first 788x1091mm offset printing machine
1923September 1
Head office and type sales department burned in the Great Kanto Earthquake
October 15
Moved head office to Ichigaya, Tokyo
Launch of “King” magazine by Dai-Nippon Yubenkai Kodansha (currently Kodansha Ltd.). Shueisha was chosen to print "King."
Established a framework for mass production
1926December 3
Shueisha won the contract for printing an anthology series of modern Japanese literature issued by Kaizosha.
Start of the “one-yen book” boom
1927July 10
Launch of Iwanami paperbacks (by Iwanami Shoten, Publishers)
November 26
Opened Ginza type sales office at current site of Ginza Graphic Gallery (ggg)
December 30
Opening of Japan’s first subway line (from Ueno to Asakusa)
1928September 12
Nisshin Printing Co., Ltd. acquired Tsujimoto Shashin Kogeisha. Began Japan's first gravure printing in primary colors
1932October 1
Nisshin Printing Co., Ltd. opened Osaki factory
1935February 26
Changed name to Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd. following merger between Shueisha and Nisshin Printing Co., Ltd.
Giichi Masuda became president
1941May 24
Hiromu Aoki became president
December 8
The Japanese military attacked Pearl Harbor; start of the Pacific War
1943December 23
Chokichiro Sakuma became president
Launched the Technical Research Laboratory