NewsAsiaJapan's largest headhunting agency acknowledges abuse of minors committed by its founder

    Japan’s largest headhunting agency acknowledges abuse of minors committed by its founder

    Johnny’s, the popular Japanese entertainment agency, admitted to decades of sexual abuse by its late founder, Johnny Kitagawa. A scandal uncovered after a new internal investigation that demonstrates the attacks of the Japanese titan for more than five decades against minors who were beginning their artistic careers.

    3 min

    Decades of covert and unpunished sexual abuse against minors. This Thursday, September 7, the president of the largest talent agency in Japan publicly acknowledged the attacks committed by the late founder of the titan of Japanese pop, Johnny Kitagawa.

    “Both the agency itself and myself as an individual recognize that sexual abuse by Johnny Kitagawa occurred,” said Julie Fujishima, the founder’s niece, while announcing her resignation.

    An apology “to all the fans, to the interested parties of the business and to all those affected by the matter”, a scandal that comes shortly after internal investigations confirmed what has been reported for decades, but also denied: the powerful Kitagawa committed “repeated and continuous” sexual abuse of minors during his years in office.

    More than five decades of sexual abuse against minors

    The new president of the conglomerate, Noriyuki Higashiyama, also from the entertainment world, admitted Kitagawa’s abuses and apologized for them, pointing out that “a horrendous crime has been committed,” but that, under his mandate, compensation will be made for the children, now adults, who were victims of the popular Japanese businessman. At the same time, he acknowledged that “it will take time to regain trust and I am risking my life for this effort” and promised structural changes within the company.

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    “Our association sought recognition of the facts, an apology and compensation. For these three points, it has been recognized,” declared Shimon Ishimaru, a victim of the attacks during the time he was under the direction of the talent agency.

    This is the first time that the talent scouting company has publicly acknowledged attacks that were an open secret in the Japanese entertainment world, but that due to Kitagawa’s influence and power they remained silenced and normalized for decades.

    A public forgiveness that comes as a result of a documentary by the British media ‘BBC’ in which they investigate and denounce the systematic violations and abuses committed by the Japanese businessman and whose media relevance made more victims tell their cases, generating a strong debate in Japan and promoting internal investigation.

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    “The scars on my heart will never fade”

    The victims have acknowledged that the Japanese tycoon raped, fondled and sexually abused them both in his luxurious home in Tokyo and in other spaces while they worked as dancers and singers.

    During that time, they say, everyone looked the other way, leaving Kitagawa to act with complete impunity. “The scars on my heart will never completely disappear, but now I feel maybe 10% less burdened,” acknowledged Yukhirio Oshima, the headhunter’s victim.

    Although more than 20 years ago some victims raised their voices and began to report the attacks, it was not until 2022 that the case gained media relevance. One victim even claimed to have been abused by Kitagawa before he founded the company, when the minor was just eight years old.

    Recent investigations that lasted three months, however, indicate that since 1962 – when the company was founded – and even before, abuses were recurring and normalized by the titan of Asian entertainment. The investigators relied on lawyers, psychiatrists and psychologists to uncover the sexual abuse, collecting more than 40 testimonies from victims who passed through the popular agency and also from its workers.

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    “If we act and speak up, we can shape a better world. I think it’s not something we should be ashamed of. Instead of walking around and looking down, I hope that all victims can look straight ahead and act bravely,” Kazuya Nakamura, a survivor of sexual abuse, said at a press conference.

    Kitagawa died in 2019 at the age of 87 without having acknowledged the violations committed and without facing justice., covered by a cloak of impunity due to its power within the K-Pop and J-Pop industry in both South Korea and Japan. Despite the scandal, the company continues to manage some of Japan’s most popular musical acts and enjoys great influence within the sector.

    With AFP and EFE

    Source: France 24

    This post is posted by Awutar staff members. Awutar is a global multimedia website. Our Email: [email protected]


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