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Yoshimoto reports record profits

Japanese comedy co. punches up 11.8%

Yoshimoto Kogyo, Japan’s top comedy talent shingle, has reported a record 11.8% gain in sales, to Y24 billion ($216 million), and a record 3.8% rise in profit, to $15.3 million for the first half of fiscal 2007.

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

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

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

To celebrate its 100th anniversary next year, Yoshimoto plans to release a 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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