SEXUAL ABUSE BEHIND THE SCENES
However, behind the scenes, trainees at the agency – many of them teenagers – were being sexually assaulted by Kitagawa.
Even as early as the 1960s, gossip magazines ran allegations of his sexual exploits, but mainstream media turned a blind eye, noted Prof Kitatani, who is also director of the Institute for Contents & Technology Integration at the Kanazawa Institute of Technology.
“In the 1980s, books were published. In 2004, Johnny’s lost a lawsuit. But Japan’s key TV networks and dailies did not treat them as significant stories,” he said.
Appointed in late May this year, an investigation team interviewed 41 people and found that Kitagawa started sexually abusing boys in the 1950s, even before setting up the agency. He did so again from the 1970s through to the 2010s.
He died in 2019 at the age of 87 without being charged with any crime.
The investigators, made up of a former prosecutor-general, a psychiatrist, a child trauma specialist, and six lawyers, found that Johnny & Associates did not take appropriate actions, such as investigating whether the sexual abuse allegations against the founder were true or not.