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Yoshimoto Kogyo comedians to ensure no ‘anti-social’ links

OSAKA (TR) – Following last month’s suspensions of 13 comedians by talent agency Yoshimoto Kogyo Co. for fraternizing with so-called “anti-social forces” groups, the agency has revealed that it will require comedians to ensure they do not associate with such groups.

Hiroshi Osaki, the chairman of Yoshimoto Kogyo, told the Mainichi Shimbun that comedians will be required to sign letters stating that they have no ties to anti-social forces groups, a euphemism for a criminal syndicate.

On June 24, the agency revealed that 11 comedians, including Hiroyuki Miyasako (49), Ryo Tamura (47) and Razor Ramon Hard Gay (43), had been suspended for attending a gathering organized by a fraud ring that targets the elderly in December, 2014.

Three days later, the agency announced that comedians Ken Maeda and Masanari Uchima, who form the duo Slim Club, participated in a birthday party held by the owner of a restaurant with connections to a similar group.

Many of the comedians later issued public apologies, with all of them saying they were not aware the parties were hosted by such groups. Uchima described his attendance as a “thoughtless action.”

Ken Maeda and Masanari Uchima of Slim Club (Twitter)

“Extremely stupid”

“These entertainers ended up receiving money that had been swindled from elderly people,” chairman Osaki said, according to the Mainichi. “They’re extremely stupid.”

The agency announced on its web site on July 13 that compensation for the comedians to attend the events reached as high as 1 million yen, which was the amount received by Miyasako.

Tamura received 500,000 yen, while Razor Ramon pocketed 100,000 yen. The remaining comedians received 75,000 yen or less, the agency said.