Male talent agency Johnny & Associates Inc. will begin from November paying compensation to the 325 men who claimed to have been sexually abused by its founder, but as more victims may come forward the scandal is not over.
How the company goes about compensating Johnny Kitagawa’s victims will be watched closely by the agency’s corporate clients and broadcasters that have said they would stop casting Johnny’s performers until the issue is addressed.
The agency said Monday it will change its name to “Smile-Up” on Oct. 17 and dedicate itself to paying reparations to victims abused by Kitagawa over the decades before his death in 2019. A new company will be set up within a month to manage its performers, it said.
Noriyuki Higashiyama (2nd from R), president of Johnny & Associates Inc., and Yoshihiko Inohara (2nd from L), president of the talent agency’s subsidiary Johnnys’ Island, attend a press conference in Tokyo on Oct. 2, 2023, over late namesake founder Johnny Kitagawa’s sexual abuse. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo
Once the compensation process is complete, the entertainment behemoth, which was formed in 1962 and went on to propel SMAP, Arashi and numerous other groups to stardom, said it will cease operating.