Five-Company Agreement

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The Five-Company Agreement (五社協定, Gosha Kyōtei) was an agreement signed 1953 September 10 between five major Japanese entertainment companies (Shochiku, Toho, Daiei, Shin-Toho, and Toei).

Although nominally it prohibited hiring away a cosignatory company's actors and directors, in reality intention of the agreement was to prevent actors being hired away by Nikkatsu, which had recently begun making films. It was executed mainly under the leadership of Masaichi Nagata, then president of Daiei.

After the Second World War, Nikkatsu (which had been primarily active in the hotel business and such) began taking steps to return to movie production under president Hori Kyuusaku, constructing Tamagawa Film Studio (in reality, Nikkatsu Film Studio) and trying to hire directors and actors away from the five companies. To oppose this, those companies bound under Nagata's leadership agreed to the following:

  1. Hiring away actors and directors from each other would be forbidden.
  2. The occasional lending of actors and directors was also done away with.

In September 1958, Nikkatsu (who had resumed film production in 1954) also participating, it became the Six-Company Agreement; in 1961, it once again became the Five-Company Agreement with the dissolution of Shin-Toho due to bankruptcy. On November 1 of that same year, the five companies ceased to offer films for television, and restricted television performances of films with company-exclusive actors. Because of this, the five companies, as well as the TV stations, began to promote many actors in the new medium.

Deprived of shows with which to fill their schedule, television channels began to broadcast American films instead of Japanese films. As a distribution system had not yet been established, and there being little foreign money in public circulation at the time, the brokers known as "transporters" came onto the scene. The president of Pacific Ocean Television (太平洋テレビ Taiheiyou Terebi), Akira Shimizu (清水昭 Shimizu Akira), said to have been a politician's secretary, emerged as the ringleader. Given the demand for American films, inevitably the demand for organization of Japanese-side staff (production / scriptwriting / film development) rose; and, as at that time there were also points in which TV channels' knowhow was lacking, there became no work other than that in inferior circumstances, particularly voice acting in Japanese dubs.

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