Home Uncategorized Johnny Kitagawa Abused Nearly 1,000 People, BBC Documentary Reveals

Johnny Kitagawa Abused Nearly 1,000 People, BBC Documentary Reveals

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The number of men who have come forward to say they were abused by the once-celebrated J-pop agent Johnny Kitagawa is now close to 1,000, according to a BBC documentary airing tonight.

The Shadow of a Predator hosted by Mobeen Azhar will show testimony from a wealth of people who were young boys signed by the Johnny & Associates talent agency, which was dissolved last year following the first bombshell documentary from the BBC.

The number of men who have come forward to Smile-Up – Johnny & Associates’ successor company – is now at 964, the doc will reveal, while airing an exclusive interview with Smile-Up CEO Noriyuki Higashiyama, a former actor.

Kitagawa died in 2019 aged 87 and was celebrated for his six-decade long contribution to Japanese pop culture, but allegations of abuse emerged after his death. His company was dissolved after the BBC’s 2023 documentary and was replaced by a new talent agency as well as Smile-Up, a company tasked with processing claims of abuse.

The doc will reveal, however, that Smile-Up has been criticized by survivors of abuse for having an opaque compensation process and for not acting quickly enough. A lawyer representing survivors of Kitagawa’s abuse will described Smile-Up’s process as being like “a black box situation” to Azhar. The doc will also feature an interview with the wife of a man who took his own life after he went public with his story.

Higashiyama will say: “I hope it will help to mend their hearts, even just a little. I consider that to be my role. My main focus is to meet with survivors.”  He will admit that he has no formal training or experience in counselling of helping survivors of sexual abuse. 

The allegations in the past years have rocked the world of Japanese pop. The company was dissolved late last year during a dramatic press conference that featured Kitagawa’s niece, Julie K Fujishima, who announced her resignation at the time following months of international scrutiny and an independent investigation.

The BBC’s doc will air tonight.



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