Founder of Japanese talent agency Johnny & Associates, Johnny Kitagawa was behind some of J-Pop’s biggest names, including SMAP, Kinki Kids, Arashi, and King & Prince. It has long been rumored that Kitagawa was a pedophile and had sexually harassed many male artistes under his management.
Since 1988, there has been a number of people who have accused Kitagawa of sexual assault. Although Kitagawa threatened with a lawsuit, two victims stepped forward and testified in court, which ruled in the victims’ favor. However, the case was kept out of the limelight and was not covered by the Japanese mainstream media.
The accusations against Kitagawa gained renewed interest when BBC covered it in their 2023 documentary, Predator: The Secret Scandal of J-Pop. During an interview with Weekly Bunshun, former ANTIME member Kauan Okamoto, who joined Johnny & Associates when he was only 15 years old, revealed that he was sexually assaulted by Kitagawa when sleeping over at his house. Kauan claimed to have been sexually assaulted 15 to 20 times from 2012 to 2016.
Holding a press conference recently, Kauan hoped to bring more media attention to the matter and produced photos of the inside of Kitagawa’s house as evidence. He further claimed that there were at least three other sexual assault victims. Kauan stated “Honestly, I feel that anyone who has been to Kitagawa’s house has been sexually assaulted before.”
Although Kitagawa passed away in 2019, his company was finally forced to respond due to the damaging claims and widespread interest. Johnny & Associates issued the following statement:
“Since the death of the company’s previous representative in 2019, we have gone through a change in management, and have also revolutionized and changed with the times. The company prioritizes a high level of transparency to garner the trust of society. Since January of this year, both management and employees will comply with the rules to strengthen the system and allow the company to continue moving forward in solidarity.”
This article is written by Huynh for JayneStars.com.