Johnny & Associates to change name, focus on compensation

Johnny & Associates' president Higashiyama Noriyuki said in a news conference on Monday that the scandal-plagued entertainment management company will change its name on October 17 to "SMILE-UP."

Higashiyama Noriyuki

Higashiyama said the existing company will become entirely dedicated to compensating victims who were sexually abused by the agency's late founder.

He said that 325 people have asked for compensation as of Monday, and that the company aims to begin paying victims from November.

Higashiyama announced that a new company would be established to manage performers, and that he would serve as its president. He said the company will ask the public to come up with a name for the new entity.

At the news conference, a company official also read a letter written by former president Fujishima Julie, the founder's niece. She wrote, "I would like to apologize once again to the victims. By talking with the victims, I continue to think about how we can compensate these people and what we can do as relatives of the perpetrator. As a result, we've decided to not only change the company's name, but also to eventually go out of business."

Agency has admitted past abuse

The agency held its first news conference on the scandal on September 7. It admitted that Johnny Kitagawa abused possibly hundreds of young male entertainers before he died in 2019. The agency apologized and promised to compensate the victims.

Johnny & Associates officials held a press conference in Tokyo on Sept. 7. They admitted the agency's late founder abused entertainers, and promised to compensate victims.

Several large Japanese companies, including NHK, are reviewing their use of Johnny & Associates' entertainers in advertisements and other programming following the company's admission that the abuse took place.

Some commercial TV stations have called on the agency to change its name.