On May 21st, 2023, Noriyuki Higashiyama, who is currently affiliated with Johnny & Associates, appeared live on TV Asahi’s “Sunday LIVE!!” and made a statement.
He addressed the issue of sexual misconduct involving Johnny Kitagawa, the former president of Johnny & Associates (who passed away in 2019).
Higashiyama began by saying, “I would like to take a moment here,” and mentioned that last week the official statement from the agency was released.
He further explained, “Regarding this matter, I felt that as the oldest member, it was my responsibility to speak up first, and I asked my juniors to wait a little before making any remarks or references. I am grateful for their consideration.”
Regarding the claims made by former Johnny’s Jr. members, Higashiyama stated, “We must sincerely acknowledge the brave confessions of the former Jr. members regarding Mr. Kitagawa.
The fact that victims have come forward with their allegations must have been difficult. The emotional scars and lifelong impact on these underage individuals cannot be underestimated.
While preventive measures were proposed by the agency, Higashiyama addressed the question of the future, saying,
“We must consider what kind of future we should strive for, what the talents currently under contract should do, and how to handle those who have come forward with accusations.”
He further emphasized the need for a comprehensive approach, stating, “We must reevaluate everything, including whether the name ‘Johnny’s’ should be maintained, and work on this issue with transparency alongside external parties.”
In conclusion, Higashiyama expressed his apologies, saying, “To everyone who has been hurt, We am truly sorry. Moving forward, we will unite as one and do our utmost to earn your support and trust.
He apologized for discussing such matters on a Sunday morning and stated his commitment to establishing clear guidelines and taking this as the first step.
In this ongoing issue, former Johnny’s Jr. members such as Kawan Okamoto (26) and Yasushi Hashida (37) have come forward with public, detailed accounts of the sexual abuse they suffered from Johnny Kitagawa.
On the 14th, Julie Fujishima, the current president of Johnny & Associates, released a video and a statement on the agency’s website, offering an apology.
Regarding Kawan’s allegations, she stated, “We do not believe there was no problem whatsoever,” taking into account Johnny Kitagawa’s passing and the difficulty in making definitive judgments on individual accusations.
She also highlighted the need to handle secondary damage resulting from speculation and defamatory comments with caution.
Higashiyama, joined Johnny & Associates in 1979 and has been a member consistently, including his involvement in forming the group Shounentai in 1982. Since Masahiko Kondo left the agency in 2021, Toyama has become the oldest active talent under the agency’s management.
— ْ けーまるだう！👶 (@k_maru_dau_baby) May 20, 2023