Tokyo Damage Report

TRANSLATION OF 2006 JOHNNY’S JIMUSHO EXPOSE

This article is from the 2006 issue of “heisei nippon no tabuu taizen” (Modern Japan’s taboo journalism collection of 2006). Sort of the Japanese equivalent of the “top censored stories of 2006” like they have in America.

 
It’s a pretty awesome fuck-you to both Johnny and the whole mass-media, but it’s from a tabloid, so the writing wildly veers between hard journalism, ranting, and baroque, poetic metaphors that a) make no sense, and b) aren’t very ‘journalistic’. I have tried to preserve that erratic tone in my translation, to give you a feeling of how Japanese tabloids roll.
 
Also dude keeps using the word ホモ性虐待 (homo sei gyakutai) – literally, ‘homo sexual-abuse.’ Which is kind of – not to be PC or anything – fucked up. Like it would have been cool if it was hetero sexual abuse? The word ‘homo’ is just as prejudiced in Japanese as it is in English, and it’s a shame the reporter had to go there with it. But that being said, the rest of the report is totally rad and here we go, the first ever English translation of. . . .
 

 
JOHNNY KITAGAWA: THE PUPPET-MASTER OF THE ENTERTAINMENT WORLD
by RI SAKU
 
 
In July 2005, in Sendai city, some teenage "tarento" ('talent': Japanese English for people in show-biz) working for "Johnny's Jimusho" (literally 'Johnny's Office, but basically it means 'Johnny's Management Company') were busted for underage drinking. Looking closely at the way the incident unfolded during the ensuing months, the parent of another ex- Johnny's child tarento was heard to say, "Nothing has changed, has it?"
 
Because of the scandalous incident, the adult tarento who were drinking with the underage kids were punished. Kikuma Chinou, the announcer, as well as ten Fuji Television employees, received cuts in pay and temporary suspensions from work. Kikuma said that she would “voluntarily” refrain from appearing on television until the first of November
 
But as soon as this was announced, many fans descended on the Fuji Television offices to protest vehemently that Kikuma's re-instatement was premature, because the 'underage-drinking Johnny's tarento' had not yet been re-instated. Many voices cried, "We won't forgive you if you punish them but not her!"
 
However, the fans' anger ought to be directed at Johnny's Jimusho, not Fuji Television. That Jimusho has produced countless 'underage drinking and smoking' scandals. And every time, their response is like the skink that cuts off its own tail so that the body can escape unharmed. They insist that the fault lies entirely with the child stars. In contrast with Fuji's lenient treatment of Kikuma, Johnny's Jimusho would only respond, "This is a matter for the lawyers to discuss." So it's easy to see that there will be more drinking scandals in the future, as Johnny's Jimusho habitually neglects its responsibility to raise and educate the minors in its care. As for the tarento involved in the Sendai underage-drinking scandal, all the show-biz journalists agree that they have no chance of ever making a comeback.
 
Television stations as well as other types of mass media – aside from a few exceptions – they all bear the brunt of fans' anger in these situations; anger that fans ought to aim at Johnny's. The fact is, the media cannot get mad at either the fans or Johnny's; they must grin and bear it. The reason being, they get a large market share and good sales by using Johnny's artists. In exchange, they have to ignore Johnny's irresponsible behavior, and this state of affairs allows Johnny's Jimusho to become more and more arrogant and spoiled.
 
But the biggest problem is, thanks to this collusion between Johnny's and the mass media, the many – or should I say – the many dozens of children who have been damaged in countless ways by Johnny Kitagawa. The media, by taking Johnny's money while refusing to look directly at the obvious facts of Johnny's behavior, is little better than an accomplice of his crimes. It's no exaggeration to say that both the scale of both the sex crimes and the cover-up has little precedent in modern Japanese history.
 
THE MONSTER OF SHOW BUSINESS
 
In July 15th of 2003, the Tokyo high court handed down a verdict that shocked the news media. Or rather, it should have shocked them.
 
The case was a lawsuit brought by Johnny Kitagawa (the plaintiff) against Bunshun Weekly Magazine (the defendant). In 1999, Bunshun had published a series of articles titled "The monster of Show Business," which aggressively pursued accounts of Johnny Kitagawa's sexual harassment of the underage boys in his employ. In the articles, Shunbun wrote that, "We have factual evidence to back up these very serious allegations."
 
For a long time, suspicions of Johnny Kitagawa's sexual predation and mistreatment of boys had been circulating, making this a "public secret" of Japanese entertainment. But thanks to the trial, for the first time, these rumors were investigated by the legal system, the evidence was weighed objectively by judges, and the verdict was: the rumors were true.
 
As for the case itself, it began when Johnny Kitagawa sued Bunshun for defamation of character on eight counts. The lower court found in favor of Kitagawa on four counts, and ordered Bunshun to pay 88,000,000 yen (about 900,000 dollars).
 
However, upon appeal, the high court overturned the low court's decision that the "gay sexual abuse" accusation was false, ruling that Bunshun had substantial evidence, and reduced the fine from 88,00,000 yen to a much smaller 1,200,000 yen (about 13,000 dollars). This was a miraculous come-from-behind victory for Bunshun (and on February 24, 2005, the final appeal of Kitagawa was dismissed). However, despite the civil court's ruling that children had been molested, the statute of limitations had passed, so no criminal case could be made. However, finally the facts had come to light: The president of Japan's most influential and largest show-business production company had engaged in repeated, persistent acts of sexual predation on the very minors who he was responsible for protecting and raising.
 
In this case, Bunshun can be forgiven for going it alone. If news is a foot-race, the rest of Japan's news media was so far behind them, they couldn't even see Bunshun's back. Despite the intense competition for scoops in today's media, no one would touch the story. It's a shame because if one of the mainstream papers had printed such an explosive verdict, they could have gotten a huge boost in readership. However, today's journalists are like greedy children fighting over scraps of Haloween candy while ignoring the huge chocolate cake in their midst. But in this particular instance, the silence was deafening (ed. – yes, the metaphors are that random in the original text).
 
From the first meeting of the low court, to the exhaustion of the last final appeal, the mainstream newspapers carried reports. But in every case, the report was the size of a postage stamp. The magazines' coverage was also insufficient. The television news didn't touch it at all. In my opinion the only media to cover the trial appropriately were two monthly magazines: "Uasa Shinso" (‘The Truth Behind The Rumors’ magazine) and "Tokyo Sports."
 
One television executive was approached by a foreign reporter, who asked him about the Johnny's trial. The executive replied, "As a television producer, I have no interest in sex scandals. Our programming has nothing to do with that."
 
Whether he honestly is interested or not interested is beside the point. The point is, the mass media doesn't want to upset Johnny's Jimusho. That such an arrangement exists, is beyond doubt.
 
In order to proceed further, we must look more deeply into the so-called "sex scandal" accusations and judge for ourselves if they are true. To that end, I will be quoting at length from the trial transcripts as well as the original Bunshun articles.
 
THE "SEXUAL ABUSE" WHICH WAS CONFIRMED BY THE HIGH COURT
 
In the October 28th 1999 issue, Bunshun Weekly began its "Monster of Show Business" campaign, which periodically published a series of articles about Johnny's Jimusho, as well as other, related articles. The article which Johnny's sued over was in the December 16th 1999 issue.
The high court found that, by and large, that the Bunshun Weekly articles contained nine distinct, potentially libellous, claims, which they had to judge on a case-by-case basis.
 
I reprint the court’s list here below:
 
Bunshun Weekly printed the following controversial statements:
 
  1. If the boys refused his advances, Mr. Kitagawa would place them in a ‘bad position’ on stage – in the corner, out of the limelight, or refuse to allow them to appear on television all together. Having created a situation where it was impossible for them to refuse, he could and did sexually harass them.
 
2) The plaintiff (Mr. Kitagawa) let the minors drink alcohol and smoke on a daily basis in his dormitory.
 
3) When the underage pop group “Junior 4” were taken into custody for shop-lifting, Johnny’s Jimusho conspired with affiliated TV networks to put a lid on the story and keep it from being reported. This also happened with other, similar incidents.
 
4) The plaintiff, and in particular the Jimusho office managers, singled out the members of the Four Leaves pop group for abuse and mistreatment.
 
5) Adult tarento which had previously worked for Johnny’s were treated coldly for long periods of time (ed. – how is this even important, let alone libel?)
 
6) The underage boys were given such busy show-business schedules that they were unable to attend school.
 
7) The tarento employed by the Jimusho were routinely not paid money owed them.
 
8) The Jimusho-affiliated fan clubs were managed in such a way that they ignored the fans.
 
9) The mass media is scared of Johnny's Jimusho and only prints flattering things about them.
 
Out of these nine claims, the courts found that 2,3,4, and 5 were defamatory. But they found that 1, 6, 7, 8, and 9 were supported by the evidence. To repeat: the repeated sexual abuse, failure to pay wages, heartless treatment of artists, the dereliction of responsibility to raise minors in his care, the systematic ignoring of fans, and the intimidation of mass media, were found to be true. These reasons alone are enough to call someone a "monster of show business," aren't they?
 
Next, I will quote from the original Bunshun article, concerning the sexual abuse, which was used as evidence in court. In order to emphasize the severity of the abuse, I'll be using rather long quotes, for which I hope you will forgive me.
 
 
Quoting from the December fourth 1999 issue of Bunshun Weekly.
 
"First, I'd like to present one bit of testimony. The boy who gave this testimony is a former Johnny's Junior (the youngest of the Johnny brand pop bands), who is now in high school. He claims he was sexually harassed many times by Mr. Kitagawa.
 
'Mr. Johnny liked to yell from the bottom of his lungs, "Youuuu!!" and call someone. Usually it would be like, "Youuu!!! C'mere!" and then you'd have to go to the dormitory restaurant and eat with him. The next time, he'd say to the boy, "Youuu!! Get in bed!" That was the one you really didn’t want to hear.
 
When I was lying in my bed, he suddenly burst in. I was alone, there was no one else in the bed. He slid in beside and behind me. He was holding something strange, I thought. He took it and rubbed it on my butt – it was a sticky lotion. Next he stuck his finger in, and finally his sex organ. I was scared so I didn't turn my head to look. It hurt, it hurt so badly.
 
Afterwards, he asked me, "Do you want something?" "I don't want anything," I said. "You definitely want something, I'm sure," he said again. In the morning when I woke up, there was $500, which had been placed by the bed. Mr. Kitagawa also raped another Junior who lived in the same dorm. I can give you his name as well.'
 
This is merely one of many first-person testimonies we have collected. And that's not even counting the many other victims of Mr. Kitagawa's penis who are too scared to come forward.
 
And why do these boys endure this abuse?
 
If you say no to Mr. Johnny, the fact is, you'll never get to appear on stage, you'll never get to be famous. Your group will never get to debut, you'll be letting down your band-mates.’
 
This is how they are trained to think.”
 
THE CONFUSING TESTIMONY OF MR. KITAGAWA
 
The Bunshun articles contained testimony from 12 boys. Out of those 12, two were called to testify at the ensuing trial on July of 2001. These courageous young men agreed to publicly share the details of their abuse, in the hopes that it would stop "Mr. Johnny" from further crimes. Also testifying was Mr. Kitagawa, who came in person to give his side of the story. In order to protect the privacy of both sides, the trial venue was moved from Tokyo to a far-away court-house, and closed to the public. Furthermore, a partition was erected between the boys and Mr. Kitagawa. The boys would testify and then leave the court-room. Then Mr. Kitagawa would respond. In spite of this special format, the trial still had the feel of a direct confrontation: Mr. Kitagawa could hear the boys, and everyone but the boys could see Mr. Kitagawa’s reaction to their testimony.
 
Johnny's attorney attempted to diminish the credibility of the boys by aggressively questioning their recollection of minute details, and calling attention to tiny discrepancies. The boys had to endure these persistent questions because there was no physical evidence to settle the dispute forensically.
 
Mr. Kitagawa's testimony – in which he denied the boys' claims – was very ambiguous, inarticulate, and slippery. In the paper issued by the presiding judges following the verdict, they
 
The argument put forth by Mr. Kitagawa's attorneys was predicated on the assumption that the boys' testimony was nothing but lies. When asked to explain the reason that the boys might lie, Mr. Kitagawa replied:
 
Boy A and boy B, well, let’s see, we can discuss their cases together, how they’re taking care of me. . . I chose them myself. I trained them. They’re my friends. But I’m the one in a sad position here. I say we are all family, and other people feel that way too. As I testified yesterday, there’s nothing so unfortunate as not to share blood ties with one’s family. So for me, a man in this sad, lonely situation, I’m the one who’s unfortunate.
 
 
The circumstances in question, I don’t think they’re homosexual circumstances. But whatever kind of circumstances they may be, the boys certainly have managed to distance themselves from the feeling that they have betrayed me. It would be strange to say that they’re purposely creating a false impression. But, to repeat myself, I don’t hate them, or bear any ill will towards them. Some people would say, “Sensei! (meaning, Johnny) You’re lying! You’re a liar!” but it would be rather difficult for me to categorically say that their testimony is entirely false.”
 
This kind of confusing, vague testimony is almost impossible to untangle. But if I had to try to translate it into regular Japanese (ha! – ed.) it might go something like this:
 
"I never meant to sexually harass anyone. But the boys were so adorable, and the bond we had was so strong, that I felt it was terrible that we were not blood-relatives. I was merely trying to bridge this gap, when suddenly the boys cried harassment! The reason they claim harassment is not because they dislike gay activity. They just wanted to betray me. I'm sure they feel guilty about it now. But I can't definitely say their testimony is entirely made up."
 
In any case, someone in court for child-molesting, who claims he is the victim, is definitely a hard-to-deal-with person!
 
INAGAKI GOROU (FROM SMAP) WAS A MEMBER?!?!?
 
"We have to stop looking for new scapegoats and victims all the time. The reason is, if we're sued, we're bound to lose. We have to thoroughly pursue a new course."
 
– Fujiwara Kazushi, advertising director for Bungei Shunjuu magazine).
 
Bunshun's exposure of the truth about Johnny's Jimusho, as well as Mr. Johnny himself, and the fact that many of their claims were upheld by a court of law, should be hailed as a brilliant military victory.
 
But, as a result, can we say that Johnny's has changed its ways? Clearly, judging by the ensuing "underaged-drinking-in-Sendai" scandal, the answer is no. As for the private behavior of Mr. Kitagawa, I can't say, but clearly the way the company treats the artists is no different than before: they continue to exploit them and neglect their responsibility to raise the children correctly. In order to stop this, it is necessary for the mass media, and the entertainment corporations who do business with Johnny's, to scrutinize the Jimusho relentlessly and strictly. It's not just the job of small, radical weekly magazines!
 
As far as Mr. Kitagawa's sexual abuse goes, former Johnny's tarento Kita Kouji (from pop group ‘the Four Leaves’) wrote a book, called "To Hikari Genji: the Forbidden Diaries of Ex-Four Leaves Member Kita Kouji." (1988, Data House). The contents of this book are already well known to our readers (ed: including an allegation that Johnny raped him).
 
But, the mass media did not stop doing business with Johnny’s Jimusho on account of the public outcry that Kita Kouji's book generated, and Mr. Kitagawa continued to sexually abuse boys. Alarm bells had rung, the SOS had been transmitted to everyone, but nothing changed.
 
Bunshun's amazing come-from-behind victory was absolutely not reported by the mainstream media, which tells us clearly that the media is scared of Johnny's. Of all the media, it is the television stations which adopt the most fawning, craven posture. This can be most easily seen by looking at how they handled the arrest of SMAP's Inagaki Goro.
 
August 24th, 2001, Inagaki was arrested in Tokyo's Shibuya district, for driving violations and resisting arrest. A female officer approached Inagaki's Maserati near Tokyuu Bunkamura hall, and attempted to write a routine parking ticket.
 
He refused and protested the ticketing. When she attempted to enforce the ticket, he started to accelerate his car, injuring the police-woman. Then he stopped his car, rolled up his windows, and locked his doors.
He hunkered down, ignoring her orders to "Come out!" and stayed in his car for another thirty minutes.
 
That a "top idoru" was caught in the act by a police officer, and arrested, was huge news, and that’s as it should be. And of course, Inagaki's rash and impulsive behavior was abnormal and wrong. Incidentally, this incident took place during another defamation suit Johnny launched against Bunshun – this time about Bunshun's allegations of Inagaki's drug use.
 
That particular trial ended when Bunshun took out advertisements apologizing to Johnny's. But the wording of these advertisements was so passive-aggressive ("We are apologizing" rather than "We are sorry"), it's fair to wonder if Bunshun was really sincere.
 
Next, I'll be quoting an un-named Bunshun associate:
 
"Bunshun's source for their article was a guy who was in the same jail cell as Inagaki. They taped an interview with this guy. So when the lawsuit came to trial, they based their defence on these tapes, but it backfired on them! When Johnny's lawyers cross-examined (the ex-con), it was easy to show that he had incentive to make stuff up, so that's why they (Bunshun) lost the suit!"
 
Even if there were no drugs involved, injuring a police-woman in the course of her duties, is still pretty bad just by itself. So one would naturally expect Inagaki to receive severely negative treatment in the media. However (and I can remember this as clearly as if it was yesterday), the way the television news treated the story was so weird, it makes Inagaki's behavior seem very normal in comparison. The newspapers referred to him as "Inagaki the suspect." But the television news quickly stopped calling him a "suspect" and instead referred to him – this guy who was currently under house-arrest and being investigated – they referred to him as "Inagaki the member" or "Mr. Inagaki."
 
As the owners of SMAP, and many other famous pop groups, and someone who (in the words of one television executive) "Can make the ratings jump like trout," Johnny and his Jimusho have a huge influence on what television does and doesn't say. And it would be difficult to imagine a more clear example of this than the Inagaki incident.
 
Two days after his arrest, (Sunday), Inagaki was released on bail, and that evening he gave an "apology press conference." The following day, the top story on all the networks was some version of "The Tearful Press Conference." Although the full police report had not been completed, let alone the trial, the television media treated the whole issue as closed – as if the press conference was some sort of Shinto ritual purification ceremony.
 
Furthermore, on the Asahi TV network's "Yajuuma Wide Show", the regular commentator (and showbiz journalist – ed.) Nashimoto Masaru was fired for commenting about Mr. Inagaki's arrest! Mr. Nashimoto talked with us about that incident:
 
"Prior to going on air, the Wide Show director had ordered us commentators to refrain from discussing the arrest. The Wide Show's is very 'soft' journalism. Showbiz puff-pieces and so on. So we often get these kinds of instructions. But Mr. Inagaki's case was criminal, not just some typical 'celebrity affair' thing. He resisted arrest and hurt an officer. Any other celebrity who ever did something like that, got criticized really harshly (in the media). I didn't see any reason to make an exception for (Mr. Inagaki)."
 
The reason Asahi TV was so protective of Inagaki was, they were producing a special Japan-Korean drama series set to air on September of that year, and had already spent a million dollars on it. And the main star was who? Mr. Inagaki. In the end, there was such a public outcry over Mr. Nashimoto's firing that Asahi TV had to take him back. "The weekly magazines wrote a lot of articles about my firing, and it started becoming a big scandal in the public mind. That's why Asahi had to relent. But I was really worried there for a while. I had just taken out a huge loan to buy a house."
 
THE TRACES OF THE "PRESSURE" THAT JOHNNY'S WEILDS AS A SPONSOR OF ADVERTISING.
 
One of the points of the Bunshun articles that the High Court confirmed, was the charge that "The mass media is scared of Johnny's Jimusho and only prints flattering things about them."
 
I will quote from the Bunshun article here:
 
"Mary Kitagawa (real name Mary Fujishima, 71 years old) is generally in charge of dealing with the mass media. So if the television company puts a Johnny's tarento in a tv show alongside a co-star that Mary doesn't like, she will telephone the president of that TV company directly and demand that they fire the co-star."
 
"And it's not just television. We have information about Johnny's influence on sports newspapers also. Says our source, ‘The showbiz world can be broken up into several categories: movies, tv, music, and so on. But Johnny's definitely has the most clout with reporters who cover television. If a reporter makes Johnny's mad, he can't get access to the stars for interviews, he doesn't get information about upcoming TV shows, and he isn't allowed to use copyrighted images of the tarento. So that's why the reporters can't refuse to play by Johnny's rules.’"
 
But it's unfair to single out the show-biz media for their relationship with Johnny's. Publishers and newspapers also are grasped by his influence. Currently, we can see him trying to exert his pressure on Bunshun. Explains a Bunshun associate:
 
"At the time we were doing the "showbiz monster campaign," we'd be trying to advertise (our magazine) in xxx-company's magazines, and we were told, ‘Johnny’s objected to us taking your ads.’
 
Apparently xxx-company was using Johnny's talent as their new spokesperson, and Johnny's said, ‘If you don't pull the Bunshun ads, we'll never let you work with our tarento again!’ Luckily, xxx-company wasn't too picky about who their spokespersons were! They just listened to Johnny's threats without agreeing or disagreeing, and then went on to print our ads."
 
One would hope that all advertisers would be as independent (literally, “be not particularly choosy which talent management agency they used for advertising” – ed.) as xxx-company, but in fact that is not the case. Especially for women's and fashion magazines, Johnny's tarento are indispensable contents. There are certain publishers where severing their relationship with Johnny's could throw the whole company into trouble. However, in some cases the opposite is true: Bunshun is not the only magazine to report about Mr. Kitagawa's pedophilia and sex abuse. Other magazines report it, but in fact their reporting is half-hearted and does not get to the bottom of things. The large-scale publishers, who own small magazines like Bunshun, think like this, according to one nameless show-biz journalist:
 
"If the weeklies we publish go easy on Johnny's, then we will be rewarded with lucrative contracts for Johnny's-related idol photobooks."
 
And it seems that both local and national newspapers are content to publish petty show-biz news and omit coverage of criminal trials as a matter of course.
 
In January of 2000, as part of the campaign, Bunshun published the following quote from a New York Times article:
 
"The Japanese mass media is absolutely refusing to cover the accusations Bunshun made, and also refusing to cover the ensuing lawsuit."
. . .
"(in the Japanese reporting system) The majority of reporters rely on official news sources, such as government offices and official spokes-people for corporations. In other words, they print nothing but P.R. from professional spin-doctors. There's absolutely no one doing investigative journalism, digging up dirt or trying to solve unsolved matters."
 
Surely it's the case that we Japanese reporters rely on official announcements. They say that it's a side-effect of our entrenched "press club" system. But, that's not the whole reason: the Japanese press even ignores official announcements! It's not that the mass-media buried the story about the High Court upholding Bunshun's claims. It's worse! In April 2000, the Lower House of the Diet convened a "Special Commission Hearing On The Problems Of Young Men," specifically to look into pedophilia, including Johnny Kitagawa, and the television didn't even cover THAT. Even the newspapers wouldn't touch this official event.
 
We asked Mr. Sakagami Yoshihide, the LDP delegate at the Special Commission about the incident, and he said that there were many reporters and television cameramen all shoving for position (at the hearing). And in spite of this, nothing was printed or broadcast! The reason is, perhaps there is not an awareness of what constitutes important news. Even if a concerned reporter were to rush to his editor's desk and insist the story was important, it's doubtful that the newspaper company would treat the matter forthrightly.
 
Again, we'll quote the anonymous show-biz journalist:
 
"Newspaper companies give first priority to the television stations that they are business partners with. One has to be very careful not to embarrass them. Also, newspapers every year sponsor cultural programs, and usually Johnny’s co-sponsors the same programs, so they are connected directly through that."
 
MR. NASHIMOTO MASARU'S "INVITATION TO TESTIFY BEFORE THE DIET"
 
You can certainly say that Johnny's jimusho has a frightening and broad influence in the market. But you can't use that to excuse doing business with them, because they are just one of many show-biz management companies. In fact, show-biz journalist Mr. Nashimoto Masaru has never been afraid to make strict criticisms of Johnny's – for instance during the Bunshun trial, or the Inagaki case. And he is still in good health.
 
An associate of Mr. Nashimoto gives the following analysis of why Nashimoto could still succeed:
 
" When the Diet met to discuss the "Johnny's problem," they called Mr. Nashimoto as a witness. But just before Mr. Nashimoto could testify, (then prime-minister) Mori's cabinet voted to dissolve the Lower House of the Diet, and Nashimoto's invitation was called off. It was tough luck, because even Johnny's was scared of the Diet.”
 
The important point is, the most effective counter-measure to Johnny's "back-room pressure" is to simply never let up. If one discovers a problem that merits criticism, one should develop a logical argument and then stick to it, to the bitter end. In fact, this is the exact strategy the mass media has used – to great financial profit – when dealing with innumerable celebrity scandals. It's simply lazy not to apply the same standard to Johnny's. His power is in proportion to the popularity and glamour of his tarento. The mass media neglected to nurture their independence and nurture their own internal planning capability. This puts them at the mercy of powerful tarento managers. The whole thing is smeared with "I'll-do-whatever's-convenient-for-me-ism."
 
The taboo on exposing bad things about Johnny's is also a taboo on exposing how the media's own vested interests are influencing what they report.
 
Reporting on the tarento, for example: stories about whether (smap’s) Kimura Takuya and Kudo Shizuka are dating or breaking up are acceptable to the jimusho. The reporters can contact the jimusho’s staff directly and haggle over juicy tidbits such as that, and both parties benefit from the publicity. But that doesn’t excuse the media from reporting on real stories about the private lives of tarento, and even more so, the abuse of underage tarento. Especially in light of the disturbing trend towards younger and younger tarento – Morning Musume and that sort of thing. There's no insurance that the mistakes of the past will be corrected tomorrow. We have to be aware of our big responsibility to stop the flow of blood and tears from the next victims before it starts.
 

Allright.

Also I got to admit that I got scooped by NEOJAPONISME on this one – they did an article on the whole jimusho system like 10 days ago, so check it out.

Also I just googled "johnny kitagawa rape" and it looks like someone translated a different, equally grotesque article which looks at the Bunshu trial as well as other financially shady practices of Johnny's, and posted it to a j-pop site. And guess what? Fangirls on that site react just like they did to my  visual interview: "Well all the REAL fans knew that already, darling, so what?"  

So what? Um, let me give it a go: The difference between rumor and established fact?

The fact that someone had the courage to actually go to court and report his rape?

And how that is a lot harder than leaving an anonymous snarky comment on a website? 

Um, if you are a fan of a band why would you financially support their sexual abuser?

And, can you take your head out long enough to see there's more at stake here than your position in the fan heirarchy? 

So before anyone leaves their two cents on THIS site, make sure you clear those conceptual hurdles. Or not, since I like housing posers anyway.

Also, as before, all comments not including a) the name of the politician who governs your region, state, province, etc. and b) your opinion of at least one of their policies will  – ouch! – not be posted.

This is, again, to weed out people who are so lost in their pop music fantasy world that they have lost touch with reality. If that doesn't apply to you, you got nothing to worry about.

 A'ight.

34 comments Tags: ,

34 Comments so far

  1. WP April 27th, 2010 8:38 am

    Also, the Japanese I know seem to know and accept this story. As long as the entertainments good they don't care about the Homosexual abuse that's going on with the kids….

  2. Dave April 27th, 2010 9:11 pm

    Tan Seng Giaw for Kepong, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
    He supports non racial politics and non corrupt pratices. Also he supports the abolsihment of detention without trial (ISA). Yup, in Malaysia you can go to jail and stay there indefinitely. All legal by law.
    Fucking fangirls!!! I mean I know about this but I didnt know that he basically was proven guilty for sexually harassing boys. Fuck  this shit.
    How can these fangirls support a company like this? Its like saying i know about  the Holocaust then buying Nazi memoribilia because its cute!!!!
    Good to see that the weekly tabloids are keeping the fight for independency in Japan. My god, tabloids are the arbiters of truth in Japan. That's fucked up.
    Johnny is still going strong and trying to expand overseas. They basically own Music Station. And the fangirls still buy.
    You know Akanishi Jin of Arashi is going to LA to perform. SOmeone should send this to him so he be forced to answer it.
    Rant over and I hope you get more expose on these stuff.

  3. Sarah April 29th, 2010 1:46 am

    The Member of Parliament for my electorate in New Zealand is Maurice Williamson. The dude has held onto this electorate since 1987, testimony to the number of smug right-wing voters in eastern Auckland. His main interest seems to be in transport and technology. Here's an article about something wimpy and annoying he did (I'm in favour of the 'h'): http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/blogs/on-the-house/3176647/Maurice-puts-the-h-in-wimp
    ANYWAY I just want to say that I continue to enjoy your translations of Japanese texts that otherwise would never come to my attention. I appreciate you taking the time and putting in the thought to preserve the journalist's oddities of style.

  4. Kakanian April 29th, 2010 12:15 pm

    You gotta understand though…plenty of those fangirls revel in fantasies of their idols getting buggered. Tor them this court-case is the best thing ever. At least as far as I understand the fandome, that is.

    And if personally find it rather depressing how they're trying to crack down on lolicon-crap and hugging pillows while actual child abuse victims don't even recieve the most basic help, simply because nobody wants to rock the boat.

  5. limewire April 29th, 2010 11:11 pm

    lmao amazing story man.

  6. April April 30th, 2010 5:33 am

    @Dave Akanishi is from KAT-TUN. And yes, I am one of those fangirls. Though I haven't been a "girl" in a few years. I'm also not a collector of Nazi memorabilia but I do know a hell of a lot about the Holocaust.
    Firstly, thanks for the translation. It's really not new info though I didn't know Kitagawa had been basically convicted in court. It should all be taken with a grain of salt though.
    It's also pretty well known that these "boys" voluntarily give themselves to the Jimusho all in the hopes of making it big. I'm not saying "giving" as in sexually.
    Where are the parents in all this? I understand it's a different culture and when the boys become Johnny's they are in the Jimusho's hand (apparently literally in some cases) but parents play a part in this. Just saying.
    Also, as a fangirl I like one group and I support them. I buy CD's, photobooks and I've been to a concert. Comparing it to the Holocaust and Nazism, is extreme and purely for shock affect.
    Facts are, I like my Jpop idol group(Arashi). If they were molested, then let them deal with it. There is not a damn thing a few boycotting fangirls could do to bring down the whole Jimusho system.
    I don't doubt that Kitagawa holds tremendous sway over Japanese media. I do doubt he was the monster pedophile it was claimed  back with the 4-Leaves.  Associating himself constantly with young men—yeah—that is strange to most the world's eyes. Not to Japan though. Where they bath with their children and sleep in the same bed.
     

  7. admin April 30th, 2010 3:59 pm

    @dave & sarah: thanks !
    @april: Are you aware that everything you said makes your whole community look bad? If not, awesome!
    @all: why are my neighbors’ barking dogs waking me at 7AM on fucking saturday?

  8. Sarah April 30th, 2010 6:01 pm

    April: Facts are, I like my Jpop idol group(Arashi). If they were molested, then let them deal with it.
    WOW, you sound like a huge asshole!

  9. Stormy April 30th, 2010 6:37 pm

    Thanks so much for the translation on this. I've been an Arashi fan for about five years which – as a non-resident of Japan – means online fandom only. Yes, we the fans know about this… sort of. This is the first comprehensive translation I've seen on the subject in my half a decade of activity; the fandom-based ones are subject to the translator's discretion – if they don't like it, they gloss over it or leave it out completely.
    Like April, I had no idea of the outcomes of the court case – all that was said in the English-speaking fandom was that there were allegations, but nothing came of it and the status quo remains unchanged. There's also the morbid fan discussions over exactly who was abused (a lot of fingers point at the boys who debut very young, like the younger ones in Arashi who debuted at 16, the Hey!Say!Jump kids whose voices haven't even broken yet, or the Elites like SMAP's Nakai and Arashi's Matsujun, who were accepted based on a photo and without an audition). But heck, no one knows, and any Johnny who speaks out will be blacklisted in one way or another, so they keep their mouths shut. Why would you endanger your livelihood when you're on tv, in magazines and on billboards pretty well 24/7?
    I have to agree on one point April made, though. Where are the parents here? Why would you knowingly put your 10-12 year old (the usual Juniors entry age) son in that environment? The only explanation I have is money – I know a few of the now-top タレント came from from single parent families who were struggling financially, and as I only know a few of the debut groups, there may be a whole lot more boys who are in the same situation. I'd like to say that whoring your child out isn't the answer, but I'm not in their situation, so perhaps I shouldn't judge…

    I haven't financially supported Johnny's since I was made aware of all this dodginess, and also the fact that the guys are on salary – even if their album and concert DVD both sit at No. 1 on the Oricon charts (which Arashi's did last year), they apparently don't receive a cut of the spoils – it goes to Kitagawa and co, Do I feel bad for downloading the music, dramas, concerts and variety shows illegally? A little. But I'd feel a lot worse if I was financing that dirty old creeper. He has enough naive girls in Japan turning a blind eye as it is.

  10. s May 1st, 2010 1:30 am

    The first five minutes you become a fan, you don't know about Johnny. The next five you do. But you've already fallen for the fantasy.

    Drinking coke, buying sweatshop clothes, driving cars– are we not all indirectly responsible for the end result? People know about the problem, but they don't always do something about it. Inaction is a choice.

    Very succinct translation though. As a fan I am too wholly aware of Johnny's power of the media, in controlling tarento scandals, and the effects on those who do not submit to his will.  The media, corporations, fans– are all responsible for pushing Johnny to where he is now. I think its a combination of a media that feeds itself on press releases and the Japanese sensibility, that has blanketed the truth.

    I think we joke about it quite enough. Boys that are too young, worked too hard, paid too less. Its a cut throat business. But a successful one. Money talks, often. We're all buying into the fantasy, supposed abuse. I don't think we can seem to stop. I don't think I have a conclusion for you though, why I'm still here.

  11. Steve May 1st, 2010 1:57 pm

    Well, Eric Massa was unexpectedly 'terminated', so I'm being taxed with minimal representation. Let's see, who's left… Paterson.. no, best not to go there… How about Senator Chuck Schumer (D. New York)? This guy is great, he's like one of the last real democrats left, which means he both holds the party line (not necessarily Obama's line, for those who don't understand what an aggravating moderate the President is) and is also sort of weak. But most importantly he holds the line. He got tons of campaign support ($$) from Wall Street, but is still pushing for financial regulation. "Thanks for the money, suckers!"
    I only have one thing to say, and that's that one time my friends and I were listening to some Johnny's music (don't worry, it was downloaded from the internet, I'm sure) and I was saying how I worried about how these stars live their lives. Like do they have development issues, like home-schooled kids? My friend's sister said, "I don't think this is the type of thing you need to worry about.", and her brother agreed. So there you go, social responsibility is sort of an abstract idea to a lot of people.

  12. admin May 1st, 2010 4:44 pm

    @steve: rad, thought-provoking email – politics, insight and examples from real life. Really , USA has a senator who is not afraid to be like, “Thanks for the money, suckers?”
    @stormy: yeah. Where the fuck ARE the parents. That makes me mad too. I wonder though – if the Japanese mass media had covered the trial properly so everyone knew dude was a molester – would that have stopped parents from putting their children into his care? It’s one thing to give your kid to Jhonny’s while “turning a blind eye” to “unfounded rumors”, but another thing to deliberately send your kid to live with a confirmed sexual predator. Would that have stopped the parents, or not? We will never know.
    @s: “Drinking coke, buying sweatshop clothes, driving cars– are we not all indirectly responsible for the end result? ”
    I think it’s more like, “Buying sweatshop clothes SPECIFICALLY BECAUSE you are in love with the sweatshop laborers and want to be their friend or get married to them. . . and then finding out they’re virtual slaves working in inhuman conditions. . . and then keeping on buying the clothes anyway.” I drive a car and fuck up the environment, yes,but I drive the car to go places. I didn’t buy the care because I wanted to show my support for the environment.

  13. Draco May 2nd, 2010 11:03 pm

    Though I knew of the allegations and the power that creep Kitagawa has…DAMN this is horrible.
    But excatly as many people said, where the hell were the parents?
    And the way their media works…yup thats Japan for you… " Please after you" " Oh no after you" *bow bow bow bow bow*. At times like this people need to grow a backbone and realise that following everyone else as one collective group is not always the best thing, especially when children are involved.
     

  14. szaszha May 5th, 2010 5:14 pm

    rick perry (r – tx) is my governor and the other night i heard an anecdote about him in which he was driving drunk and told the officer who stopped him to "lemme gothefuck home. dontchu know whoo iam?!" i have yet to confirm the allegations of dui. our DA, susan reed, is reportedly also a drunken whore. i'm working my way deeper into san antonio's cultural and political underground to attempt to find more stories like this about local figures.
     
    this was totally rad. its interesting to see the scandal behind this kind of shit. most of my interaction with japanese popular-anything is strictly through tightly controlled corporate fan propaganda.  thanks so much for doing this. are there any scandals concerning a certain david bowie-esque superfamous japanese singer who's name sounds like a yiddish sneeze? please tell me he's involved in some sort of wierdness. that would be fun to read about.

  15. François May 12th, 2010 1:01 am

    My president is Sarkozy. I don't even want to talk about it.

    Concerning our case, I'd say anybody that has an fan-like interest in this soapy culture (be it Johnny's boys or Hello Project girls…) has an issue to start with. Close to addiction? That could explain the blinkers fans stick on their eyes.

    @szaszha : You're talking about Imawano Kiyoshiro? The scandals he brought were mostly against the establishment and biggots of all chapels, like when he did a punk-rock version of 君が代, or sung あこがれの北朝鮮. The kind of scandal I like.

  16. szaszha May 12th, 2010 4:06 pm

    @francois: no, i was talking about gackt. however, thanks for the new scandals. i'll investigate mr imawano also.

  17. François May 12th, 2010 6:57 pm

    @szaszha: Hence the yiddish sneeze, gottit. This Hyde guy is freaky at best. But it's just a look. I think he and his band fall right in the visual kei archetype as described so well in a previous TDR interview (jimusho fabricated persona, indie rocker on a salary…).

  18. Mika G. May 14th, 2010 9:47 pm

    Well there's no question that a portion of the Hello Project fanbase consists of guys who find the girls sexually exciting. Just google "shining musume" and look at some of the NSFW images. I have no doubt that stories of the H.P. girls having illicit sex would boost their sales.
    Especially if their culture really is "soapy"… heheheh. Fact is though, precious few of them seem to care what kind of life these girls end up living.
    Sanity check: My governor is Mitch Daniels. The worst thing he's done is disband the state government unions. The best thing he's done is push the BioCrossroads initiative.

  19. jin k July 10th, 2010 10:58 pm

    i think with one of johnnys talents jin akanishi of kattun performing in the usa is the perfect time for us reporters to reopen thecase and present it before the us supreme court since japan is an ally of the usa and in some cases still subject to us law because the status of forces agreement which also allows many american troops be based in the country,the sexual abuse/rape charges would be brought before the us supreme court which would then be handed over to the united nations court of international justice, i think if the west put some light on this johnny couldnt get away this time also here in japan the statue of limitations on rape was rasied from 15years to 30years

  20. NoraE. August 6th, 2010 6:31 am

    Thank you so much for this! I have only become aware – and become a fan – of Johnny's in the past six months, but from the very start I heard about the allegations. I couldn't find much on it on my first couple of tries, but I never really lost that sick feeling that rumors like this are more often than not true. I was somewhat relieved – although that's probably not the best word for it – to at least read this and know for sure.
    I can't imagine how brave those boys had to be to sit on the other side of a partition from the man who did that to them — let alone the man who would be making sure they never had a career in entertainment again. And if their parents sent them to him in the first place, I wonder if some of them don't even want to believe their son's claims if they do try to come forward? So horrible.
    I have, of course, decided like Stormy not to financially support Johnny's Entertainment (even if I still like some of their bands!). ((What April said up there, well that just makes me ashamed to say I'm a fan at all.))
    So again, thank you for this – I am glad to be properly informed, even if the truth is so disturbing.

    Also, one last thing, has anyone read/have access to "To Hikari Genji"? I've been trying to find a copy but I'm starting to think Johnny had them all destroyed.

  21. passionz September 24th, 2010 6:35 am

    It’s interesting to read your summary and opinions as well as all the comments here.
    Before I forget, I don’t know who my governor is. Mind you, the government here is so fucked up I have no interest to learn anything about them. I’m from Indonesia.
    First, I have to admit that every fangirls know about this story, but yet we do nothing. Why? Well, perhaps one of the reason is because the idols themselves never show any reaction, or not allowed to show one. Even after the accusation made up to the court, no one quit from the company because of it, no one who is currently employed, debuted or not, ever say anything to support the accusation. Too afraid of Johnny? Perhaps. Too afraid to lose their position in the entertainment business? More likely. People above have pointed out, where is the parent in this problem? Despite it’s not a good enough reason, most of the families who put their children in the hand of the company are poor, and they put high hope that their children will be successful, because if you’re a Johnny’s, you will always get a place in the entertainment business. But, what I want to point out here is, the boys chose to ignore the problem themselves. Sure, at first, they are still underage, but then they grow up, and they still say nothing about it. Surely, you couldn’t say they still feel very threatened of Johnny when they are already adult and could make decisions themselves. Even the most popular, SMAP, who is clearly has gained success as one of the most successful celebrities ever in Japanese’s history, never try to get out of Johnny’s grasp. I think you can say that they chose to ignore the problem in exchange of their secure positions. Sad, but it’s their choices. People who smoke and do drugs also know the risk of their actions, yet they still do it. And who are we to told them what to do and shouldn’t do?
    I still bought their stuffs, though not all, since my money won’t allow it. I don’t think it’s worse than buying pirated dvds and downloading illegal stuffs. Even though I know it was the source of money for terrorist. Why we must feel prouder to say that we don’t supply Johnny with money because we prefer to download his stuffs instead? And really, everyone know uploading and downloading copyrighted stuffs to internet is illegal but yet everyone keep doing it, so what prevent us to judge them but judge people who buy Johnny’s stuffs legally instead?
    In the end we all sinners, and today, ignorance is the way we live. Sad but true, and there’s nothing we could do to change it.

  22. admin September 24th, 2010 9:31 am

    @passionz: you’re from indonesia? You got a great punk scene over there. you can go to shows, actually meet and talk to the band, and hang out – for much less money than Japanese Idol merchandise.. plus the band will be actually good AND no boys are sexually assaulted. Praise Allah! Don’t waste another second.

    check out this tour diary if you don’t believe me: http://www.conquestfordeath.com/blog/

  23. passionz September 25th, 2010 2:59 am

    thanks for your suggestion. well indonesians bands are certainly not that clean either. they dealt with somekind of the mafia here, they use black magic to charm fans, and a lot of sex, sleeping around, and drugs. oh yes. no one is really clean these days, but yeah perhaps no sexual molestation…don’t get me wrong, i do listen to a lot of other music so i’m not entirely blinded to follow everything my japanese idols say or do.

  24. Ren Scarlet Prophesy February 12th, 2011 9:52 pm

    I can't say that I know much about local politics, except that Michael Bloomberg seems to own everything, and I don't very much like the direction the schools are headed in (I work as an admin assistant at a high school). And, I am from NYC. (Wasn't sure if the last bit about at least one political opinion was serious or not, haha~)
    What I do want to say is, fangirls are a bunch of bloody ignorant little twats, and, thank you for publishing this article. I was already aware of a lot of shady dealings in the j-pop industry, but I did not know it was this bad. I was not fond of any of the Johnny's groups (that I knew of) but now that I know this, I will make sure to steer clear from actually buying any of their albums/merchandise.

  25. pir February 23rd, 2011 3:28 am

    sanity check:  my premier is gordon campbell, a so-called "liberal" (actually a conservative british columbia, canada). i don't want to take up all the space describing the policies of his i don't agree with; they're legion — oh, and he was arrested for DUI in hawaii, with twice the legal blood alcohol level, and all he got for that was a $913 fine.  he should have been forced to resign, the bastard.
    i'm a new fan of japanese pop/rock, and not part of any fangirly circles because i can't stand unquestioning adoration of anything.  when i first heard of johnny's, and how young they are when they enter training, i was immediately thinking how this can't be a good thing.  i feel the same way about athletes like gymnasts who compete younger and younger, and basically have their childhood stolen from them.  so i am not surprised that (some of) the boys are sexually abused; that seems to be inherent in such a setup.  and yes, where the hell are the parents?  screw fame and money, i would want to protect my child from this sort of thing.
    but what i dislike even more is the attitude of some fans — what's with blaming the victims, you jerks?  those boys are too damn young to "deal with this themselves" when it happens.  if you're a fan, you ought to actually SUPPORT them, not blame them for wanting a better life.  i can promise you that none of them signed up to be abused.  man, i am pissed off after reading this.  and how the japanese press is complicit in letting kitagawa get away with it, while being hard on any of the kids who drink underage — looks like they might actually have reason to drink, eh?
    what can we do?  i am fine with boycotting kitagawa's products, but that won't actually DO anything FOR the boys, you know.  well, at least i can let him know that i am doing it by writing a protest letter, but that still leaves me feeling impotent. 
    thanks much for providing this translation.

  26. blinky April 19th, 2011 3:31 pm

    thanks for translating this article.  finally, i now know  what went down in this court case.  before, all i ever heard was that Kitagawa won a judgement against weekly bunshun… making it look like he's innocent of everything.  and thats exactly what crazy retarded fangirls always say. "Kitagawa won a judgement, so he's innocent of sexual abuse".  now they can shove those lies up their keister when i show them this article and the truth about that disgusting POS.  the funny thing is, you'd expect women of all people to take something like rape very seriously… but instead they are so quick to make excuses or downplay it.  LMAO at those douchebags

  27. […] The group was created by a child molester entertainment mogul by the name of Johnny Kitagawa. Nothing else can be said because he’ll probably sue me for defamation like he did that publishing company. […]

  28. Mike John February 8th, 2012 7:44 am

    Great translation it seems. 
    I was wondering if you have the original article in PDF or something. I would love to take a look at it.

  29. admin February 15th, 2012 5:28 pm

    @mike: sorry, the original is a book. Analog. if you live here you could pick it up at book-off for 100 yen, i bet. I forget the title. it’s part of the takarajima taboo series.

  30. daniela April 2nd, 2012 12:01 pm

    i actualy dont get this Fangirls…if they "love" them so much shouldnt they help them? 
    uuuugh im soo frustated
    i realy want to do something to stop this.

  31. GABIE April 13th, 2012 10:42 pm

    …. I just cried.. I think my heart just broke…. after reading this…..

  32. Ina June 5th, 2012 5:15 am

    I love your translation and how you react to this. I am afangirl but I also live in real world. I watch tv and news. My country has this entertaining democratic system that makes me interested to take more look of how it runs (sorry for bad english). th point is I really interseted in reality written in your post.

    Thanks for sharing this o us. I feel pity for my idol now. I think the best thing they’ve got is the real fans who appreciate their talent, their hardwork, with all this ‘under johnny’s power’ thing.
    It saddened me to think that maybe my fav idol too ever experience these kind of thing from Johnny…
    My ichiban ;_;

    Thank’s so much. this makes my eyes open…. (especially the salary part =_=)

  33. natoruh October 1st, 2012 10:10 pm

    Shoot..I heard about the harassment issues before but this is the first time I got details.. Damn you Johnny!!! It is so sad that this idols, who are actually good at their jobs are being molested and are under paid. Well,Johnny is a pedophile and tyrant. 
    I'm a fan for more than a year now (arashi) and luckily I haven't spent a cent to enjoy their music.  Thank you for internet.
    Anyways I wish Kitagawa-san's penis will shrink or better fall off  because of old age and won't have to molest any idols anymore. And  I wish Japanese people will open their effing eyes! I mean the court already said he is guilty.. waah.. I have mix feelings with this issue. I wish I could do something about it..ugh..! I really do love Arashi not because they look good but because their songs make me happy. And it pisses me off big time that their hard work are not being rewarded properly. tsk!

  34. Parrainsummer March 1st, 2014 8:33 pm

    I have always suspected this. Money rules the world and it requires a great courage to try and change things. I admire people from the magazine who tried. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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