J-pop's Johnny-san dies in Tokyo at 87

| AGENCIES 11 Jul 2019

Johnny Kitagawa, who produced famous boybands including Arashi and SMAP and was a kingpin of Japan's entertainment industry for more than half a century, has died at 87.

His office, Johnny & Associates, says Kitagawa died from a sub-arachnoid hemorrhage on Tuesday at a Tokyo hospital, where he had been treated after falling unconscious on June 18.

Born in Los Angeles, Kitagawa spent his early childhood in Japan before and during World War II, and later grew up in the US before returning to Japan after the Korean War.

Kitagawa established his office in 1962, spearheading Japan's entertainment scene and sending many artists to fame.

He called the artists and trainees his "children," and was affectionately known as Johnny-san, though he hardly appeared in public.

Despite his huge success as a producer, he was dogged by allegations that he abused the young boys who flocked to his agency in hopes of stardom, though he was never charged with a crime.

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