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Johnny & Associates Talent Agency Founder Johnny Kitagawa Passes Away

posted on by Jennifer Sherman
87-year-old idol group mogul had subarachnoid hemorrhage

Talent Agency Johnny & Associates founder Johnny Kitagawa passed away in a Tokyo hospital before 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday due to a subarachnoid hemorrhage (form of stroke). Kitagawa had been in the hospital since June 18. He was 87.

Kitagawa was born in Los Angeles, and his family returned to Japan when he was very young. He later returned to America and spent some of his youth there. He taught English to orphans in the Korean War for the United States Army. Kitagawa returned to Japan again and founded Johnny & Associates in 1962 after establishing the male idol group Johnnys.

Johnny & Associates went on to establish and manage many male idol groups such as SMAP, Arashi, Tokio, KinKi Kids, V6, KAT-TUN, and Hey! Say! JUMP. The members of idol groups under the management of Johnny & Associates are collectively known as "Johnny's."

In addition, Kitagawa was a music producer and stage production director. He continued to produce musicals into his 80s. He held Guinness World Records for having the most No. 1 artists, the most No. 1 singles, and the most concerts produced by an individual.

Kitagawa faced allegations of sexual misconduct during his career. However, the accusations never resulted in formal criminal charges.

Sources: NHK, The Mainichi

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