Everyone knew “it was your turn” when Johnny Kitagawa instructed one of the youngsters living at his opulent home to retire early.
That was one of the memories musician Kauan Okamoto, then 15, gave on Wednesday about allegedly being sexually assaulted by Kitagawa, a prominent player in the Japanese entertainment industry.
Okamoto was a member of Johnny’s Jr., a backup boys’ group that served as a talent pool for Johnny & Associates, a management company for male idol singers and performers.
He could still hear Kitagawa’s slippers clopping down the corridor. He pretended to sleep by turning over in bed. According to Okamoto, Kitagawa occasionally gave him a 10,000 yen ($100) bill the following morning when no one was watching, such in the elevator.
Okamoto, 26, estimated that Kitagawa chose dozens of visitors to stay at his house where the alleged abuse took place as his “favorites”—the ones he considered talented. The incident came to light with the March global broadcast of the BBC documentary “Predator,” in which several victims spoke out.
Kitagawa passed away in 2019 and never faced charges.
Late on Wednesday, Johnny’s issued a statement in reaction to the press conference. According to Kyodo and other Japanese media, “the corporation will continue its united effort to comprehensively ensure compliance without exception, and confront strengthening a system of governance.” It did not specifically respond to the accusations.
Johnny’s had been asked to react to the accusations by the Foreign Correspondents Club, but no response was received. The Associated Press sent a comment request to Johnny’s, but they didn’t respond.
Okamoto claimed he had not given legal action any thought. He merely prayed that his account would be heard.
“Such are the facts. I hope people would respect and stand by us instead of denying these facts “He informed the press.
Okamoto recalled that many young performers wanted to be invited to Kitagawa’s penthouse in the Shibuya district of Tokyo since it was essential to be liked by him if one wanted to thrive in Japanese entertainment.
Okamoto claimed to owe a great deal to Kitagawa, whom he always addressed as “Johnny-san.” He didn’t tell his parents about it, nor did he openly reject Kitagawa, like many of the other victims did.
“We were young. We simply chuckled about it “Okamoto stated.