Few in the history of Japan's entertainment industry have wielded more power than talent manager Johnny Kitagawa.

Kitagawa primarily flexed this influence through Johnny & Associates Inc., an agency he founded in 1962 that would go on to become one of the most powerful entertainment companies in the country.

He created massively successful pop groups such as SMAP, Arashi and Kat-tun, among others, outfits that carried cultural significance beyond song and dance. He used his standing in the industry as a way to shield his artists from scrutiny and scandal, and his own influence on the media went so far as to protect him when allegations of child abuse and sexual exploitation at the agency were raised by former performers.