From one channel to the next, almost every comedy and variety show on Japanese TV features personalities from entertainment powerhouse Yoshimoto Kogyo Co.

But recently the company has been rocked by a scandal involving high-profile comedians that is no laughing matter. What began last month with the revelation that 13 entertainers entered into a lucrative “underground business” has evolved into scathing criticism of the firm’s management and corporate culture. Although President Akihiko Okamoto apologized for the scandal and took a 50 percent pay cut for a year, he said he would not step down.

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