Johnny Kitagawa

Japan’s Leading Boyband Star Maker Passes Away

Johnny Kitagawa

Japan’s leading boyband star-maker Johnny Kitagawa, who built an entertainment empire and broke records with his acts, has died of a stroke, his company said. He was 87. Kitagawa was behind the birth of J-pop groups including SMAP, TOKIO and Arashi that dominated Japan’s showbusiness industry and won adoring fans across Asia.

The Los Angeles-native started as a producer in the 1960s and held three Guinness World Records — for producing the most No.1 singles, the most No.1 acts and the most concerts by an individual. He collapsed on June 18 and died of a brain haemorrhage at a Tokyo hospital on Tuesday, his company Johnny and Associates said.

He took legal action against the Shukan Bunshun weekly magazine, which in 1999 published a series based on accusations of child abuse and sexual exploitation made by several boys under his management.

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