Toei’s Big Year Hit by Falling Stocks

Gake no Ue no PonyoDespite having had the major box office hit of the year, the decimated stock market has caused Toei studios to revise its expected increase in annual profits. Miyazaki Hayao’s anime feature “Gake no Ue no Ponyo” has made around ¥15 billion, making it the fourth most successful Toei movie of all time. And with other hits such as “Hana yori Danshi Final,” boosting earnings to more than ¥207 billion, it was shaping up to be a great year. But the global financial crisis has taken its toll on Toei’s stock and net profits are to be revised downward by about ¥1 billion to ¥6.7 billion, a decrease from last year.

• Folk singer Matsuyama Chiharu (52) last night returned to the stage, three months after illness forced him to cut short a concert tour. The singer was diagnosed with angina in June, and yesterday’s show in his hometown of Ashorocho, Hokkaido was originally scheduled for July 8. In front of an audience of 1,500 he declared himself fully fit and performed a set of 14 songs.

• Freelance announcer Yamamoto Mona (32) is making a subdued return to work. Kind of. She has been on forced leave since an extra marital affair with baseball star Nioka Tomoharu (32) caused a scandal in July, and hasn’t been seen in public since. Yesterday the Bunka Housou radio network said that they plan to re-broadcast an award-winning show next month that features Yamamoto as narrator. The documentary about the WWII battleship Yamato was originally broadcast in January.

• Comedienne Ohshima Miyuki (28) and her husband are to finally hold a traditional shinto wedding ceremony at the revered Ise Shrine in Mie Prefecture this weekend. Ohshima and TV writer Suzuki Osamu (36) got married in October 2002.