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While the most prominent of entertainment company Yoshimoto Kogyo’s myriad business interests are the near endless TV appearances by its contracted comedians, the real heart of its operation lies not in the studio but on the stage.

It was exactly 100 years ago this month that Yoshibe Yoshimoto and his wife, Sei, bought out a small theater in Osaka and began hosting rakugo (comic storytelling) performances — and with that what is now one of Japan’s largest entertainment companies was born.

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