Less than a month ago, the BBC released a documentary on Johnny Kitagawa and his history of predatory behavior, and while it was understandably criticized for a variety of reasons, it served as a welcome chance to get more people to confront Johnny’s history of sexual abuse.
Well, the newfound attention to the issue has helped others come forward, as Shukan Bunshun has spent the last month talking with six victims about their experiences with Kitagawa. However, recently former Johnny’s Jr. member Kauan Okamoto putting his name and face to sexual assault allegations has made the biggest wave, and he spoke at length to Shukan Bunshun (Via @farrahakase).
Okamoto had dreams of following in the footsteps of Justin Bieber, who rose to stardom from a low-income background. Johnny used that dream and started his grooming of Okamoto by inviting him to a concert in February of 2012, with Okamoto then staying in Johnny’s place in Shibuya that was decked out with everything a teen could want.
Johnny lived in a 450+ sq meter mansion with a jacuzzi, karaoke room, and a home theater with video games. His bedroom had 2 beds, the boys’ resumes, and a table.
Nothing happened between them at the time, and they slept in separate rooms. But a month later, in March of 2012, the sexual assaults started when he would be at Johnny’s place.
In March 2012, Okamoto was about to graduate junior high school. Johnny massaged his shoulders and asked him to go to bed early. Johnny would make his rounds putting them to bed … and then have his way with them.
– He started massaging Okamoto’s feet, and then strip him off of his yukata. Johnny would fondle him and then use his mouth. Okamoto pretended to be asleep. Johnny would do this for over an hour two days in a row. Okamoto would watch porn on his phone with his earbuds on.
– Johnny would greet him as if nothing had happened. He handed Okamoto a folded ¥10,000 bill. Okamoto also took a video of what Johnny did to him for evidence.
The fact that Okamoto was in a Johnny’s Jr. unit called Sexy Boyz at the time the assaults began is just … disgusting.
Okamoto goes on to say the sexual assaults happened 15-20 times.
– Okamoto was assaulted 15-20 times during his 4-year term with Johnny’s Jr.
– He quit Johnny’s due to being prevented from having a YouTube channel, and he already had a presence overseas.
– Okamoto is now a full-time musician/lyricist/music producer who’s active in Japan and Brazil.
– He says that he is still very grateful for Johnny and the opportunities he has gotten.
The part about Okamoto still feeling grateful rings familiar to testimony from other victims in the BBC documentary, and it really makes it clear how nefarious grooming really is.
As for Okamoto coming forward now, he says it’s a weight off his shoulders.
Okamoto said he decided to come forward publicly without anonymity because he didn’t want to be in denial of what happened to him. He wanted to stop hiding and feels that a weight has been lifted, now that the truth is out.
Glad he had the courage to speak out, and hopefully he gets what he wanted out of being able to tell his story.
It was kinda chilling to read about how almost nonchalant Johnny would go about all this and how open of a secret it was. Like as I read through the other stories, it stood out that seniors in Johnny’s would advise juniors on how to avoid being sexually assaulted by him, but were also telling them that it’s basically the way it is if you don’t want to lose your job. So despite everything that has come out, it’s still a fraction of what likely went on, and the fact that this shit has largely not been tackled over and over again by mainstream news is negligence at best.
While I had my share of problems with the presentation in the BBC documentary, if it gets more people to open their eyes to the kind of monster Johnny Kitagawa was and what he did to people beyond his achievements with Johnny & Associates, then it’s hard to be anything but grateful for it.