Yoshimoto Kogyo

Yoshimoto Kogyo Co., Ltd. (吉本興業株式会社, Yoshimoto Kōgyō Kabushiki-gaisha) is a major Japanese entertainment conglomerate. It was founded in 1912, Osaka, as a traditional theatre, and has since grown to be one of the most influential companies in Japan, employing most of Japan's popular owarai (comedy) talent, producing and promoting the shows they appear in[1]. The two main headquarters are stationed in Osaka and Tokyo.

Yoshimoto Kōgyō
Native name
Production company(Television, theater)
Talent agency
FoundedApril 22, 1932
FounderKichibei Yoshimoto
Area served
¥ 600 million
Total assets¥ 61.7 billion
OwnerFuji Media Holdings, Inc. 12.13%
Nippon TV 8.09%
TBS Television 8.09%
TV Asahi 8.09%
and more
Number of employees
610 (not including talents under their agency)
SubsidiariesYoshimoto Creative Agency
Yoshimoto Developments
Yoshimoto Music Entertainment Co., Ltd.
Yoshimoto Administration
and more

Yoshimoto has been expanding its business in recent years, due to the warai boom. They now have their own comedy theme park in Otaru, Hokkaido and have begun signing the likes of musicians, producers, athletes and singers alongside business with the Japanese owarai industry.


1912-1932: Establishment of Yoshimoto Kogyo-bu

On April 1, 1912, Kichibei Yoshimoto and his wife Sei Yoshimoto purchased the Second Arts Building in Osaka. They later established Yoshimoto Kogyo-bu in January 1913 in Shinsaibashi. In 1922, they purchased two theatre establishments in January and May in Tokyo and Yokohama.

1932-2005: Rename to Yoshimoto Kogyo, influence on manzai

On March 1, 1932, Yoshimoto Kogyobu changed its name to Yoshimoto Kogyo and set up their second headquarters in Tokyo. In 1933, Yoshimoto Kogyo's film department was established. Yoshimoto helped shape the manzai comedic style after World War II, and the kanji that used for the word manzai were introduced by Yoshimoto in 1933. In November 1935, Asakusa Kagetsu Theatre opened under Yoshimoto Kogyo in Asakusa, Tokyo. In 1941, in collaboration with the national intelligence agency and the Imperial Rule Assistance Association, Yoshimoto Kogyo established the Yoshimoto Theatre Caravan and began tours across the nation. On February 13, 1943, Tsūtenkaku, a landmark tower owned by Yoshimoto, suffered a fire which severely damaged it. Rather than repairing the structure, it was disassembled with the steel and other materials used for the war effort. On March 10, 1945, Several theatres owned by Yoshimoto Kogyo were destroyed or severely damaged due to the Bombing of Tokyo. In October 1946, the Yoshimoto Kogyo headquarters in Tokyo split off from the main company to form its own entity as Yoshimoto Kabushiki Gaisha. In November 1946, Yoshimoto Kabushiki Gaisha established the Oizumi Eiko Kabushiki Gaisha, which later joined several other companies to form Toei Company. On May 14, 1949, Yoshimoto Kogyo began trading on the Osaka Securities Exchange.

In 1959, the company established its own comedy troupe theater group, Yoshimoto Shinkigeki. On October 2, 1961, Yoshimoto Kogyo began trading on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. From 1962 to 1963, the Kyoto Kagetsu Theater and the Namba Kagetsu Theater opened. In 1982, Yoshimoto New Star Creation was established in Osaka. A second headquarters in Tokyo was established in 1995.

2005-present: Expansion

In January 2005, Isao Yoshino replaced Masao Kimura as director. Kimura had been part of the company since entering in 1969. Yoshimoto Kogyo, Faith, Fandango and Intel Japan formed a strategic alliance, and established Bellrock Media in the United States. On October 1, 2007, Yoshimoto Kogyo restructures as a holding company. In 2009, Yoshimoto Kogyo establishes partnership with the Creative Artists Agency. On February 24, 2010, Yoshimoto Kogyo stopped trading on all stock exchanges.


Anti-social group scandal

In 2019, several comedians associated with Yoshimoto Kogyo admitted they had accepted money and attended parties held by the yakuza in 2014 without the knowledge of the company.[2] 11 celebrities under the company were suspended,[3] one of whom included Hiroyuki Miyasako.[4] Shinya Irie, a member of the comedy duo Karateka, was fired earlier for arranging their appearances at the party without the agency's permission.[3] CEO Akihiko Okamoto also admitted that the company had found out about the connection between the comedians and the anti-social forces but pressured the comedians to stay silent.[5] Okamoto also apologized for Miyasako and Ryo Tamura and decided to reinstate their contracts after initially firing them.[6] He and chairman Hiroshi Osaki vowed to take a 50% pay cut for one year as atonement over the scandal.[6] The celebrities returned from suspension and resumed their activities on August 19, 2019.[7]




Yoshimoto Kogyo is the owner of a number of corporate offices and stages, most situated in the downtown areas of Osaka and Tokyo. The company has two headquarters, Osaka HQ (大阪本部) and Tokyo HQ (東京本部) and a number of stages, namely Lumine the Yoshimoto (ルミネtheよしもと), 5 up Yoshimoto (5upよしもと), NMB48 Theater (NMB48劇場), Nanba Grand Kagetsu (なんばグランド花月), and a new stage in the popular Shibuya district of Tokyo, Yoshimoto Mugendai Hall (ヨシモト∞ホール). Yoshimoto also had a comedy museum in downtown Osaka called Yoshimoto Shōtengai (吉本笑店街), but it closed in 2009.

Other assets

Yoshimoto Kogyo also owns a community FM radio station, YES-fm 78.1 (callsign: JOZZ7AF-FM), based in Namba, Osaka.


  1. Martin, Alex, "YOSHIMOTO, Entertaining the nation: For almost 100 years, Yoshimoto has been clearinghouse for comics", Japan Times, May 18, 2010, p. 3.
  2. Yui, Mazakazu (June 15, 2019). "Talent agency to make all its entertainers confirm no ties to 'antisocial groups'". Mainichi Shimbun. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  3. Yui, Mazakazu (June 24, 2019). "11 Japanese comedians suspended for appearing at 'antisocial organization' party". Mainichi Shimbun. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  4. Yui, Masakazu (July 19, 2019). "Japanese comedian Miyasako's contract cut over 'antisocial group' scandal". Mainichi Shimbun. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  5. Morrissy, Kim (July 27, 2019). "Crime Connections, Abusive Practices Come to Light in Yoshimoto Kogyo Entertainment Agency Scandal". Anime News Network. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
  6. Yashiro, Hisanori (July 22, 2019). "Apologetic entertainment giant boss retracts punishment over 'antisocial group' scandal". Mainichi Shimbun. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  7. Yui, Masakazu (August 10, 2019). "Talent agency Yoshimoto to lift stage appearance ban on 11 comedians". Mainichi Shimbun. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  8. "「HEROES」のマシ・オカ、吉本興業とアドバイザリー契約!日本のテレビへの出演も?". シネマトゥデイ. June 22, 2010. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  9. "岡田 斗司夫 プロフィール|吉本興業株式会社". profile.yoshimoto.co.jp. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
  10. "「私生活ではこけっぱなし」前神奈川知事が吉本入り 都知事選断念の松沢氏". msn産経ニュース. June 16, 2011. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
  11. "中野 寛成 プロフィール|吉本興業株式会社". profile.yoshimoto.co.jp. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
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