Xanadeux has become the latest in a string of small to medium-sized Japanese distributors to go out of business, following a contraction in the territory’s independent film and DVD markets.

Xanadeux president and founder, Hiroki Numata, has been missing since June. The company’s phones, website and offices are gone and industry figures have expressed concern over Numata’s whereabouts and well-being.

Founded in 1996, Xanadeux gained notice for the Tamil-language release Muthu (aka The Dancing Maharaja) in 1998, which grossed $2m of its $6m worldwide box office in Japan, and made Tamil superstar Rajnikanth famous amongst Japanese audiences.

Other Xanadeux releases included The Limey, Rob Zombie’s 2007 Halloween remake, Yoichi Sai’s Blood And Bones and J-horror releases Juon and Juon 2, on which it also served as production company.

However the company struggled in the current declining market. The box office failure of 170-screen March 2008 release Postman and subsequent horror release Shinizokonai No Ao are said to have been the start of the company’s serious financial problems.

Xanadeux was set to co-distribute director Sabu’s The Crab Cannery Ship (Kanikosen) but left IMJ Entertainment, the film’s producer, to handle distribution duties despite its lack of such operations. Upcoming releases including omnibus New York, I Love You are in limbo.

As reported on Screendaily.com, the closure is one of a string of bankruptcies and upheavals in the local industry which has seen the shuttering of Movie-Eye Entertainment, Wise Policy and the near collapse of film fund operation Japan Digital Contents.

Several more small-to-medium sized companies are in financial trouble but have yet to make public announcements.