Johnny Kitagawa: The new head of the J-pop agency, Higashiyama, is also being investigated for alleged instances of abuse

It has been alleged that the current head of a J-pop agency that is already in shame due to the widespread sexual abuse that was done by the firm’s late founder Johnny Kitagawa has also engaged in sexual misconduct with young boys.

Noriyuki Higashiyama stated that he was unable to recall the alleged actions, which he speculated may or may not have taken place.

After Kitagawa’s niece handed in her resignation on Thursday, he was given the opportunity to take over as head of Johnny and Associates.

He will be in charge of leading the agency’s attempts to make atonement and pay victims.

The head of a boyband in Japan has resigned due to billionaire Kitagawa’s harassment.
Nevertheless, on Thursday during a news conference announcing Julie Fujishima’s departure and his appointment, he was also confronted with inquiries regarding his own allegations of abuse. This occurred during the press conference.

Journalists approached him to inquire as to the veracity of the claims that were made about him in a book, which stated that he displayed his genitalia to young boys, rubbed their crotches, and instructed them to “eat my sausage.”

His response was, “I don’t recall it very well. Perhaps it did take place, or perhaps it did not. I have a hard time recalling things.”

Referring to allegations that he had tormented younger artists, the 56-year-old stated that it was likely that he had been stricter with them, and that he may have done things as a teenager or in his 20s that he would not do today. He made these statements in allusion to the allegations that he had bullied younger performers.

One of the first individuals that Johnny and Associates sought out to fill their talent pool was Mr. Higashiyama, a well-known figure in Japan. Many users have voiced their disagreement with his appointment on the internet, pointing out his extensive experience with the company.

He remarked, “I am putting my life on the line for this effort because regaining trust will take time and I am putting my life at risk.”

He went on to say that he had never been a target of Kitagawa’s abuse, despite the fact that he was aware of the rumors about it.

During the news conference, he recognized his helplessness by saying, “I couldn’t do anything about it, and I didn’t.”

Because Mr. Higashiyama has been associated with the Johnny and Associates brand for more than three decades, many people are curious about how he will be able to transform the business and, more importantly, safeguard its employees.

On Friday, one of Johnny’s victims, Kauan Okamoto, who came forward, cried while speaking to the media about how his mother is the one who is suffering the most as a result of Johnny’s actions. He added that his mother is the person who is hurting the most.

“She is forced to experience it all over again and listen to the things that were done to me,” he said. There are some things that I just can’t bring myself to discuss with her. “I don’t want her to ever have to go through this again,” he added. “I don’t want her to have to go through this.”

In addition to that, he stated that he “respects” Mr. Higashiyama and thinks that he is “brave” for accepting a job that nobody else wants.

In spite of the fact that Mr. Okamoto has stated that he despises Kitagawa for what the latter has done, he is “grateful to Johnny” for exposing him to the world of music.

“I know that some would say this is grooming, but this is how I feel,” he added. “I know that some would say this is grooming.”

Kitagawa was widely regarded as the most powerful and influential man in Japan’s entertainment business during his lifetime. His agency has been connected with J-pop culture for decades, and it served as the stepping stone to popularity for a great number of young men.

On the other hand, Johnny and Associates is now known by the name of a sexual offender.

When Mr. Higashiyama was asked on Thursday during the press conference if there were any intentions to change the name of the company, he responded that there were none.

One user on social media wondered how he would be able to “rebuild the agency when everyone will be looking at you with coloured lenses?”

The user continued by asking, “Is this the end for the company?”

Independent investigators concluded one week ago that the pop music entrepreneur had sexually molested hundreds of adolescents and young men over a period of six decades, including while he was the chairman of the boyband organization.

He passed away in 2019 at the age of 87, never having been charged with a crime and consistently denying any misconduct. The passing of Kitagawa was a significant event on a national scale, and even the Prime Minister of Japan at the time extended his sympathies.

Despite the fact that rumors of his abusive behavior were common knowledge within the industry, the claims were ignored for decades by the mainstream media in Japan.

However, a documentary that aired on the BBC earlier this year about Kitagawa and the J-pop industry sparked a national discussion and encouraged further victims to come forward. It resulted in an independent investigation, and the report from that investigation, which was released a week ago, suggested that the head of the agency leave.

The inquiry by the BBC that finally resulted to the long-awaited admission of abuse
On Thursday, Ms. Fujishima, who will soon be stepping down as chief executive, made her first admission on Kitagawa’s abuse.

She claimed that the pop mogul was so strong that many people at the agency, including herself, had kept quiet because of him.

According to Matsutani Soichiro, a journalist who has studied the Japanese entertainment business for a number of years, the company also possesses a significant amount of authority over a large number of media channels.

In May, he gave an interview to the regional media in which he said that falling revenue at TV stations and magazines had caused them to become excessively reliant on Johnny and Associates’ idols for ratings.

In the year 2019, for instance, a Japanese regulator issued a warning to Johnny and Associates after it discovered that the agency had forced TV stations not to highlight idols who had left the organization. This was done in response to the regulator’s discovery that Johnny and Associates had done this.

Mr. Matsutani continued by saying that if the source of the issue is not addressed, it is possible that such events would take place at other talent agencies.

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