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Welcome to sayzansha.com, the Say-zan-sha Publications Ltd. website.

Company Profile


Chairwoman : Yuko Matsuoka Harris (Mrs.)

President : Kazuhiro Matsuura (Mr.)

Foundation 1979
Address Say-zan-sha Publications Ltd.
Zuicho Bldg.5F, 1-15-15 Kudankita, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan
postal code : 102-0073
Phone : +81-3-5210-7221
Fax : +81-3-5210-7220
株式会社 静山社 地図
E-mail postmail@sayzansha.com

Say-zan-sha The little shining star


Ms. Yuko MATSUOKA, wife of former president Mr. Yukio MATSUOKA who passed away in 1997, has kept alive her late husband's steadfast commitment to editorial quality and thought-provoking content, while bringing an international outlook to Say-zan-sha.

While continuing her 30-year career as one of the best simultaneous interpreters in Japan, she was inspired by her late husband's passion for publishing to carry on his work with the issue of "Maketetamaruka Maketara Oreno Otokogasutaruyo (Give In? Never! I Couldn't Face Myself)" by Susumu SUGIYAMA, an account of the author's battle with the degenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as "Lou Gehrig's disease.“

At the same time, she has made the most of her language skills in the publishing field. In April 1999, Say-zan-sha published "Conference Terminology : a manual for conference members & interpreters in English & Japanese." This classic textbook for conference interpreters was originally compiled in 1957 by Jean Herbert, who recruited and trained the first team of interpreters at the United Nations. The English-Japanese version, complete with annotation, was compiled by a team of professional interpreters.

Then, in December 1999, Ms. Matsuoka's expertise and enthusiasm led to the publication of a major bestseller, the Japanese translation of "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone."

The second book in the planned seven-volume series, "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," followed in September 2000, the third, "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," in July 2001, the fourth "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” in October 2002, the fifth “Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix” in September 2004 and the sixth “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” in May, 2006. All six Japanese editions became million sellers as a "Harry Potter boom" appeared in Japan. In 2008, the series completed with “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”. As of 2011, the total sales of the seven books are over 24 millions.


Ms. Matsuoka was awarded the "Aoi Mugi (Blue Wheat) Editor's Prize" for her devoted work on Say-zan-sha's editions and the "Shinpu (New Wind) Prize" from the national booksellers' association. Her translations of the first two Harry Potter volumes appeared on the "Best Three" list of a translation trade journal, and all have been praised by various magazines and newspapers. As the president of a small company which won the Japanese rights for the Harry Potter books, and as their translator, she was selected as "Woman of the Year" in 2000 by the magazine "Nikkei Woman."

Profile of Yuko MATSUOKA

See the profile of the translator of the Harry Potter series.
→ About the Translator

Profile of Kazuhiro MATSUURA

Mr. Kazuhiro Matsuura, brother of Yuko Matsuoka, became the President in 2011 after retiring from his career as an architect working for Tohoku Denryoku (Tohoku Electric Power Company). With his engineering background, he brings a new perspective to the publishing industry. He lives in Sendai which was hard hit by the 3.11 Earthquake and Tsunami and commutes to Tokyo. He is black-belted, 6-dan, in Aiki-do and still gives training to young people in Sendai.


Social Activites

The founder of Say-zan-sha, Yukio MATSUOKA established the Japan ALS Association (JALSA) in 1986 and dedicated himself as a non-paid volunteer Secretary General of the Association until his death in 1997. He started preparing for the establishment of an association for ALS patients, families and doctors when he met a patient, Mr. Takehisa KAWAGUCHI( author of "Shinbo (Patience)" published in 1983 and the first President of the Association) . He offered his own house as the office of the Association for nearly a decade from the stage of preparation to 1993 when the Association became financially viable and rent a room. Say-zan-sha Ltd paid half of the rent and shared the office with the Association so that Mr. MATSUOKA could continue to devote his time and resources to the activities of the Japan ALS Association. (The office of JALSA is now housed in Phoenix House, the building of Say-zan-sha.)

Say-zan-sha Ltd. published essays and diaries of ALS patients. Mr. MATSUOKA also published, as a volunteer editor , JALSA, a quarterly bulletin for the members of the Japan ALS Association until the day of his death the 25th of December,1997.

Mrs. MATSUOKA who helped her husband in his publishing business, also served as his interpreter when he attended the Alliance, the only international association of ALS patients and families. She also attended the Alliance meeting on his behalf when he was seriously ill. She has picked up where Mr.MATSUOKA had left by attending international meetings of the Alliance, publishing books on ALS and by serving as volunteer interpreter/translator to spread the message for which he offered his life.

Japan ALS Association→


What is ALS/MND?

ALS/MND are abbreviations for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Motor Neuron Disease, which is a fatal neurological disorder, motor cells in the spinal cord and brain. Its symptoms may include muscle weakness and paralysis as well as impaired speaking, swallowing and breathing. In most cases it does not affect intellect, memory or the senses.

Progress is relentless and generally rapid, with an average life expectancy of 2-5 years, from onset of symptoms.

Though it can affect anyone, it is more often found in the 40-70-age range. Once thought rare, it is in fact quite common. There are nearly 120,000 cases diagnosed worldwide each year. That's 328 new cases every day! The incidence of ALS/MND is 2 per 100,000 while the prevalence is six per 100,000. Only 10% of the cases are familial (inherited) with the remaining 90% sporadic.

The disease affects each individual differently and can have a devastating impact on family, careers and friends. The rapidly progressive nature of the disease requires constant adaptation to increasing and changing and levels of disability which in turn, require increased levels of care and support.

Quoted from "Working Together We Will Make a Difference" published by MND