Johnny Kitagawa of Johnny & Associates is dead at 87, which is cool as hell

Johnny & Associates founder Johnny Kitagawa is dead at 87 after suffering a stroke. This comes following a widely-reported hospital stay about three weeks ago that indicated his health was failing.

Japanese music mogul Johnny Kitagawa, who shaped Japan’s boy band landscape for more than half a century, died of a stroke on Tuesday at a hospital in Tokyo, his office said. He was 87. Kitagawa, who founded Japan’s top male talent agency and production company Johnny & Associates Inc. in 1962, had been in hospital since June 18 due to a subarachnoid hemorrhage, a type of stroke.

Why so flippant about his death? I’m lazy, but his Wikipedia entry gives the gist of it.

The important part is towards the end, where the courts conclude that Shukan Bunshun defamed him, but only in the reports that he provided minors with alcohol and cigarettes. However, they ruled the testimony of the dozen boys were credible, and I don’t think many people would have much sympathy for a pedo.

Kiyondo Matsui, Shukan Bunshun’s editor in chief, is proud of the Kitagawa stories because after the first article appeared, his magazine received a flood of information from boys and men who had been part of Johnny’s Jimusho. The information was so compelling that the magazine, despite pressure from Mr. Kitagawa’s lawyers, decided to proceed with what became a 10-part series. For two months, reporters at Shukan Bunshun interviewed about a dozen teenage boys. While initially reluctant to talk, the boys eventually recounted their experiences after assurances that their identities would not be disclosed.

According to the articles, the boys took part in Mr. Kitagawa’s talent training corps, in which they received singing and dancing lessons and did promotional activities in the hope of making it into one of Mr. Kitagawa’s major groups. Some of the boys told the magazine that they regularly had sexual relations with Mr. Kitagawa because they feared that if they refused he would not advance their careers, and that boys who did refuse were ejected from the training program.

One former member of a 1970’s era teenage group managed by Johnny’s Jimusho told The New York Times in an interview that Mr. Kitagawa raped him when he was a 12-year-old recruit. The man reluctantly agreed to the interview on the condition that his name not be used, for fear that he might lose his job as a musician. At his request, the interview took place in a Tokyo hotel room with a reporter from Shukan Bunshun, which arranged the meeting. Now in his 40’s and married, he nervously recounted how he and other boys had suffered. After reading the initial articles in the magazine, the man said, he decided to tell his story because he was outraged that Mr. Kitagawa was continuing to sexually abuse boys. “I didn’t like what was going on,” he said. “But if I said no I would have been kicked out and there was nowhere else for me to go.”

That doesn’t even factor the two accusations in tell-all books that got things started.

So yeah, you’ll be seeing a lot of people who aren’t exactly shedding tears over this and there will be a good reason for it.

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