Yoshimoto Kogyo Co., Ltd. is a company based on Osaka and a major entertainment corporation in Japan. In 1912 this conglomerate was founded as a form of conventional theatre and since then has grown to be one of the most prominent organizations in Japan. The company employed the most popular Owarian talent of comedy and produced and promoted those shows in which they appeared. The company even maintained its own amusement park.
Yoshimoto is solely responsible for the growth of Japanese Manzai post the Second World War. The kanji that is currently used for the term Manzaiwas introduced in 1933 by them which paved the path for a new age and style for comedy. Even though the Manzai is not the prevailing form of Japanese entertainment any longer, the influence of Yoshimoto still remains and the Manzai spirit thrives on contemporary Japanese comedy. This can be seen by the prevalence of the Kansai dialect in many of the productions of Owarai.
Isao Yoshino is currently the director of Yoshimoto who took over from Masao Kimura who was the ex-senior director since 2005. Kimura was with the company since 1969 and has been incremental in expanding the reputation of the company and growing it enormously. His contribution towards the success of the company in the 35-year span is commendable. Yoshimoto is still the dream company for many young aspiring comedians just out of university. Many of them anticipate to be accepted as a part of the ‘New Star Creation’ school setup in Osaka or one amongst the many in Japan.
Yoshimoto has a legacy of having more than 650 performers or entertainers and is possibly the most prominent owarai kombi (duo) Downtown and in 1980 the successors of the manzai duo Yasu-Kiyo. Typical to the culture in Japan there is a strong linkage between the senpai and kohai, i.e. the senior and the junior members of the industry of entertainment. Many of the employees of the lower cadre of Yoshimoto do not receive their remuneration in full but gain from the guidance and advice of the seniors of the company. In the recent years Yoshimoto has been growing its business because of the alleged ‘warai boom’. Currently they have their own theme parks in Otaru, Hokkaido that are themed around comedy. They have begun following the lines of athletes, producers, singers and musicians and business with the Owarai industry in Japan.