This year, longtime observers of Japanese entertainment witnessed something that once seemed impossible: The talent agency Johnny & Associates confronted its past.
Following months of renewed focus on decades-long sexual assault allegations aimed at the company’s founder Johnny Kitagawa, the powerhouse agency conducted an internal investigation and also appointed a third-party team of experts to look into the claims.
Then, in early September, Johnny & Associates held a press conference to formally acknowledge that Kitagawa did, indeed, abuse young men for years. Kitagawa’s niece, Julie Keiko Fujishima, resigned from her position as company president, with former Johnny’s performer Noriyuki Higashiyama assuming the role. He told the news conference the company would offer compensation to Kitagawa’s victims, and a statement later released online said that the agency would not claim management fees made from ads or TV appearances featuring Johnny’s talent for a year — all fees would go to its performers instead.