Behind the waves of musical talent that the “Johnny & Associates” agency presents to the world was, for decades, founder Johnny Kitagawa. Over the last years of his life, the businessman, who was also known as the “God of pop” in Japanese culture, fought allegations of sexual abuse that may have involved some of the young people involved.
Although venerated in Japan, even after his death in 2019, Kitagawa’s figure continues to be mysterious. The existence of few photographs of the agency’s former leader, as reported by a BBC investigation, suggests that he was a man who operated silently throughout a career spanning more than six decades.
To the recruits who appeared at the agency which exclusively welcomes men— known as “juniors” — the businessman contacted in a way that was not supervised by third parties, something that may have facilitated the alleged acts of sexual crime. Fame, together with the millions he earned through the success of pop bands not only in the country, but around the world, ended up suppressing any allegations that were emerging.
Despite never having admitted the accusations, some of which began in the 2000s, they were recently confirmed by Julie Fujishima, Kitagawa’s niece — after assuming the presidency of the company for a week.
After confirmation, some companies in the country have shown reluctance to interact with the agency, reports The Japan Times. One of the possible consequences could be a decrease in sponsorships involving music stars.