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The fourth edition of the Okinawa International Movie Festival, held from March 24 to 31, was a strange beast, combining screenings of 102 films from Japan, Asia and elsewhere with manzai comics and other acts from the powerful Yoshimoto Kogyo agency, which underwrote the entire event, in cooperation with corporate and government partners. “It’s not a film festival — it’s a Yoshimoto matsuri (festival),” one waggish staffer told me.

In addition to entertaining large crowds at the Beach Stage near the Okinawa Convention Center in Ginowan, Yoshimoto comics appeared at butai aisatsu (stage introductions) in the convention center’s four theaters, at which they bandied quips with the director and stars of the film to be screened, some of whom were Yoshimoto talents themselves.

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