Japan Pop Agency Boss Resigns Over Founder Sexual Abuse Scandal

    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

    The Facts

    • Julie Fujishima, the niece of the late J-pop mogul Johnny Kitagawa, who's accused of sexually abusing hundreds of boys and young men over several decades, has resigned as leader of the talent agency her uncle founded.

    • Johnny & Associates is Japan’s most popular pop music talent agency, and its founder's scandal garnered mainstream ire after the BBC aired a tell-all documentary in March. Kitagawa, who died in 2019, denied any wrongdoing and was never charged.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    While acknowledgment of Johnny Kitagawa's heinous abuse is a step in the right direction, it doesn't come close to justice. For six decades, Johnny Kitagawa sexually abused vulnerable boys while the people around him — and, more deplorably, society as a whole — turned a blind eye to his crimes. This case speaks to the broader crisis of governance in Japanese entertainment and calls attention to the nation's dearth of adequate child abuse laws.

    Narrative B

    Although there are no excuses for the terrible crimes Kitagawa committed and Japan's entertainment industry — and the nation itself — has a long way to go to stamping out crimes against minors, both the agency and Tokyo have taken encouraging steps forward: Johnny & Associates with its compensation program and Japan with its revision of the Penal Code concerning sex crimes and further reforms in the works.

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