Japanese Anime Studio Embraces YouTube Pirates

Animation producer Kadokawa thinks it has more to gain than to lose by allowing its content to be shared for free on the Net
Tsuguhiko Kadokawa, chairman and CEO of Kadokawa Holdings. Junko Kimura/Getty Images

Last May, when Kadokawa Holdings released The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya on DVD in the U.S., fans of Japanese animation swarmed shops in Los Angeles and other cities. For months, Kadokawa, a Tokyo publisher and TV and movie distributor, had dropped hints about the anime's imminent overseas release on a Web site. But other than that, it did almost no advertising. It didn't have to. The company merely tapped into the huge following Haruhi Suzumiya already had on YouTube (GOOG) and other video-sharing Web sites.

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