Leading Japanese independent film distributor Asmik Ace Entertainment, publisher Kadokawa Shoten Publishing and Kadokawa Holdings and have jointly launched a video & DVD distribution unit.

With capital of $83,000 (Yen 10m) funded entirely by Kadokawa Holdings, Kadokawa Entertainment will distribute video and DVDs of all the films and TV programmes produced by the Kadokawa group, which have been handled by the other distributors until now.

Kadokawa-Daiei currently owns over 1600 film titles produced under the Daiei label. Among them are the Zatoichi series, starting with the 1962 hit period drama about the adventure of a blind masseur turned master swordsman that Takeshi Kitano remade last year, the 1960s Daimajin series about a giant stone samurai, and Takashi Miike's new shocker You've Got A Call.

Kadokawa Shoten Publishing also owns over 100 film titles, including Yoshimitsu Morita's Paradise Lost, a 1997 hit about an adulterous affair. The new company is also releasing foreign titles to which Asmik Ace owns the distribution and video & DVD rights, including The Hours and Adaptation.

Kadokawa Entertainment plans to release about 40 video & DVD titles per year. Under the president Yasushi Shiina, the current Asmik Ace president, the new company will start operations in April and aims to achieve $41.6m sales in its first fiscal year and $166.6m in three years.

Kadokawa Shoten took over Daiei, once a major studio, from game maker Namco in 2002 and merged it with its own film production unit under the name Kadokawa- Daiei. Kadokawa Holdings is the holding company of Kadokawa Daiei.