“I apologize for the people who have come forward with experiences of suffering.” In May, Julie Fujishima, niece of Johnny Kitagawa, the “God” of Japanese pop, reduced himself to 13 words to address sexual abuse allegedly committed by his uncle. Already this Thursday, she was not so succinct, and she admitted everything at the time of her termination.
“Both the agency and I as a person recognize the sexual abuse caused by Johnny Kitagawa”he began by saying at a press conference in Tokyo, quoted by the BBC. “I apologize to all the victims from the bottom of my heart.”
This decision comes a week after an investigation conducted by Johnny & Associates itself, considered Japan’s largest pop agency, revealed that its founder, who died in 2019 at the age of 87, had abused hundreds of young people’s children for more than six decades.
When these data were revealed, the panel of experts hired by the agency, which interviewed about 41 people, of which 23 were victims, pressured Julie Fujishima, to leave the post. Despite the fact that she still owns all shares in the company, and says that she will remain present to oversee the payment of due compensation, she has assured that she will not be involved in measures related to the health and well-being of survivors.
In addition, he named his successor, who is someone very well known to the public: “It will take a long time for us to regain the confidence we lost, but I will dedicate the rest of my life to fighting this problem,” said actor and singer Noriyuki Higashiyama.
As a former member of boy band Shonentai, which was popular in the 1980s, the 56-year-old singer and now president of Johnny & Associates has admitted to never having been sexually abused or harassed. However, he also confessed that he had heard rumors of young people who had been, advances the The Guardian.
“In the entertainment world, the person with power treats the people below as disciples. It was this structure that gave rise to this scandal, and this is something that we must reflect on, in order to create a healthier environment, ”he added.
During the press conference, several victims of Johnny Kitagawa were present, who, despite still being alive when some accusations were proven in court, never faced any consequences. And, despite believing the former president’s excuses, they consider that “there is still a long way to go”.
“I think she gave us a message directly, which was well prepared, in her own words, and not just read from a script,” explained the director of the Johnny’s Association for Victims of Sexual Violence, Junya Hiramoto.
I think they made a sincere apology, but that doesn’t mean it’s healed. From zero to one hundred, I would say it made a difference of 10%”, confessed another member of the association, Yukihiro Oshima.
Investigation reports detailed several episodes of abuse that began in the 1950s, i.e. even before the company was founded in 1962.
In March, the BBC released a documentary, “Predator: The Secret Scandal of J-Pop,” which brought the stories of survivors from Kitagawa to the world.
Jonny said to me, ‘Go take a shower’. He washed my entire body, as if he were a doll ”, revealed a victim, who was 15 years old when the founder invited him to sleep in one of his houses, known as “the dormitory”. “They told me: ‘You have to endure, otherwise you won’t be successful’”.