- The new president of 'J-Pop' talent agency Johnny & Associates, Noriyuki Higashiyama, is facing accusations of sexual abuse, bringing even greater scrutiny to the company which had been plagued by the recent turmoil surrounding its late founder and namesake, Johnny Kitagawa.1
- On Thursday, Julie Fujishima, the owner of the agency and niece of Kitagawa, resigned from her role as president of Johnny & Associates, while acknowledging the actions of her uncle and apologizing to his victims.2
- At the press conference announcing the change in leadership, reporters asked the newly appointed Higashiyama about allegations published in a book claiming multiple obscene allegations.3
- Higashiyama could neither confirm nor deny the allegations, saying 'I don't remember clearly. Maybe it happened, maybe it didn't. I have trouble remembering.” However, he did admit to possibly taking action when in his 20s that he would not do today.4
- One of the most prominent and longest-tenured performers at Johnny’s, Higashiyama, 56, rose to fame as part of Shonentai, a boy band formed in 1985. Higashiyama said that he never knew of Kitagawa’s abuses and told the press that the agency plans to keep its current name.5
- Kitagawa died in 2019 at 87 years old, and reports about his sexual abuse of young boys began to surface in the 1990s, however, a proper investigation reportedly had not been conducted. A BBC documentary in March drew new attention to the abuse, showing that Johnny abused hundreds of boys starting in the 1950s.6
- Narrative A, as provided by Ft. While acknowledgment of Johnny Kitagawa's heinous abuse is a step in the right direction, it doesn't come close to justice. For six decades, Johnny Kitagawa sexually abused vulnerable boys while the people around him — and, more deplorably, society as a whole — turned a blind eye to his crimes. This case speaks to the broader crisis of governance in Japanese entertainment and calls attention to the nation's lack of adequate child protection laws.
- Narrative B, as provided by The japan times. Although there are no excuses for the terrible crimes Kitagawa committed and Japan's entertainment industry — and the nation itself — has a long way to go to stamping out crimes against minors, both the agency and the nation have taken encouraging steps forward. Johnny & Associate's compensation program and Japan's revision of its Penal Code concerning sex crimes and further pending reforms are vital efforts in the right direction.