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Yoshimoto reports record sales, profits

Comedy talent shop has 11.8% sales gain

TOKYO (Tuesday): Yoshimoto Kogyo, Japan’s top comedy talent shop, has reported an 11.8 percent gain in sales, to Y24 billion ($216 million), and a 3.8 percent rise in profit, to Y1.7 billion ($15.3 million), for the first half of fiscal 2007. Both figures are company records.

Strong BO at the new Jimbocho Kagetsu theater in Tokyo, which features Yoshimoto comics, boosted the bottom line. The company plans to open another theater in Tokyo, the Asakusa Kagetsu, this month.

Orders from TV webs for Yoshimoto-produced TV strands, including the hit TBS variety show “Lincoln,” as well as the Y1.2 billion ($11 million) BO for the hit Hitoshi Matsumoto comedy “Dainipponjin,” also contributed to the good results.

On the other hand, “Comic Yoshimoto,” a new comic mag that showcased gag comics by Yoshimoto talent, ceased publication after only three months. “Sales were bad because the target was too narrow,” commented Yoshimoto prexy Isao Yoshino to the press on Friday. “But we plan to launch a new (magazine) that uses the non-comic skills of our talent,” he added.

For next year, to celebrate its 100th anniversary, Yoshimoto plans to release a new TV drama and pic based on “Homeless Chugakusei” (The Homeless Junior High Student), an autobiographical novel by Hiroshi Tamura, a member of the Yoshimoto comic duo Kirin.

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