Kadokawa Shoten Publishing president Tsuguhiko Kadokawa has announced a reorganisation of the company's film businesses and a relaunch on April 1 under the name Kadokawa Pictures.
The reshuffle, which will merge film-related subsidiaries of Kadokawa Holdings with film producer and distributor Kadokawa Daiei, will result in the extinction of the Daiei corporate name, one of the oldest in the Japanese film industry. Daiei will remain only as a brand for DVD and videos of the studio's classic titles.
Founded in 1942, the Daiei studio was a major industry force in the 1950s and 1960s, responsible for Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon and the Zatoichi series, among many others. The company went bankrupt in 1971, but in 1974 came under the corporate umbrella of the Tokuma Shoten Publishing company. In November of 2002, Kadokawa purchased Daiei from Tokuma, together with its 1,600-title film library, and merged it with its film division under the name Kadokawa Daiei.
The company is currently renovating the Daiei studio in Chofu, a Tokyo suburb, at a cost of $9.4m (Y1bn). It also planning the production of three major films, starting this summer: Yokai Daisenso (The Big Goblin War), Shin Sengoku Jieitai (New G.I. Samurai) -- a remake of a 1979 film by Mitsumasa Saito about a squadron of Self Defense Force soldiers who time travel back to 16th century Japan -- and new instalment of the studio's signature Gamera series about a giant flying turtle.