We, too, can’t move on…” A Johnny’s fan talks about “Our Redemption” | FRIDAY DIGITAL

We, too, can’t move on…” A Johnny’s fan talks about “Our Redemption”

An Urgent Roundtable Discussion with Johnny's Fans [Part 1

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on LINE

This is not the time to say, “I don’t want to think about it.”

The media coverage of Janie Kitagawa’s sexual assaults continues unabated. Many people have pointed out on social networking sites that “why aren’t Johnny’s fans criticizing him,” “Johnny’s fans must have known about this,” and “the fans are the perpetrators.

So, how do Johnny’s fans view this issue? We conducted an emergency roundtable discussion among Johnny’s fans.

  • Ms. A (Female): Editor. She is a fan of the Jr. unit “Shonen Ninja” after being “boxed in” by the office.
  • Ms. B (female): A media person, a fan of Shota Totsuka of A.B.C-Z.
  • Mr. C (female): Media professional. After being an Arashi fan, she became a fan of the Jr. unit “Shonen Ninja.
  • Mr. D (male): An editor and a fan of Hey!

Note: Although the names of real people appear in the text, they are the personal views and perceptions of the fans and not a statement of fact.

The issue of sexual assault at Johnny’s has led to a hearing of the parties involved by experts from the UN Human Rights Council’s Working Group on Business and Human Rights…. Photo: July ’19, street TV reporting the death of Janie Kitagawa (PHOTO: Kyodo News)

I think they knew, but they tried not to believe or watch…

A. I think my own stance was that the fans honestly knew about the issue of Mr. Janney’s sexual assault, but I tried not to believe or look at it. When I read the first book of accusations under my own name, “To Hikaru Genji: The Forbidden Half-Life of Former Forleaves Kita Koji” (Data House/’88), I laughed at it as if it were bad, and I knew there was a trial. Still, you thought there would be no such thing as sexual assault in your later years.

And, although it was unfair, I thought “my own charge (my charge, my guess) would be fine. However, it is true that I was interested in the mind of Mr. Janney, a man who creates a special world beyond comprehension, such as the production of boys in sea pants bathing on stage.

B I knew of course, and I had read the exposé book, but my own friend (Shota Totsuka of A.B.C-Z) loved Mr. Janney anyway, and he always talked about how interesting and wonderful he was. In “Legend of Johnny’s,” a stage adaptation of the trajectory of the first Johnny’s, A.B.C-Z sang a song called “You…,” which was written by Dotsuyo (Tsuyoshi Domoto) with Mr. Johnny in mind.

In this way, I have been bathed in the love for Mr. Janney that comes from my own group. I thought that it was possible that Mr. Janney had sexually assaulted the Jr. members, but I loved the world of Mr. Janney and the idols who honored him, so I thought of it separately from that world.

So when the issue of sexual assault surfaced like this, and I heard people bashing and saying things like “Johnny’s and their fans are bizarre, aren’t they?” all I could say was “That’s really true.

A I knew there would be some, didn’t I?

B Yes, I did. And I had heard from former Johnny’s Jr. who was a member in the ’10s that it actually happened and that it probably still happens today…. But I didn’t see it as that much of a problem for me. The girl also said that she had been subjected to such behavior, but she said she “loved Janie”.

C My immediate thought was that I didn’t want to think about the subject, and I wanted to shut out the information. So when the BBC picked up the story, I thought of the sexual harassment and power harassment issues reported in other offices in recent years, and I had a sense that “a big problem” had arisen, but I thought that Julie would come out and end it there.

However, the situation has grown unexpectedly, and it has become too much for me to say that I don’t want to think about it, so I am trying my best to turn my face in that direction, even though I really want to turn it away.

D You don’t want to turn your face away, but you feel like you have to?

C Yes. I feel like I am sinking deeper and deeper into a dark and deep swamp, and in order to get back up, I need to look at it properly, gather my thoughts, and think about how I want to move forward as a janita in the future.

I feel that I have been consuming such a backward and dark part as one of the stories of idols. So, as pathetic as it sounds, I would be upset if such a story became a reality.

A. When I think back on the accusations made by Ms. Cowan-Okamoto, who was the first to reveal her real name and face, and how she was being heavily criticized at one point, I found it strangely understandable.

As one would expect, he was not doing the same things he used to do…

C I was shocked to learn that sexual assault was a part of the Cowan generation, because, like Ms. A, I had conveniently assumed that the group I was in charge of was safe.

B I have to admit that there were a few kids that I thought, “They would have definitely done something to me. Normally, it would only be sexual abuse, but I felt that there was a world that was veiled and that only they could understand. I recognized that idols were people from a different world, far removed from my own, with great talents.

Moreover, many Johnny’s were people who had their resumes sent to them by their parents or older sisters without their permission. My favorite (Arashi’s) Ohno (Satoshi) is the same way, as is Tottu (Totsuka). They participated in auditions and performed in concerts as Jr. members, and at first they wondered why they had to do such things, but then their talent was “discovered.

I saw them as “chosen people who could not defy fate” and “special people who could only live here. So, even though I thought something might have happened with Mr. Janney, I thought of them as a special relationship where common sense did not apply. If you think about it in a normal way, it’s a very dangerous thing.

A You mean you are so close that you are more like a fictional world than a real person?

B I completely agree. I don’t think I thought of the talent as people just like me.

D Of course people in their 40s and older who read “To Hikaru Genji” knew that there were sexually-aggressive things going on, and there was the Bunshun trial, and I think even younger people in their teens and 20s and so on were at least vaguely aware of it.

On the other hand, it was somewhat separate from following Johnny’s. In particular, I think the fact that KinKi Kids and Masahiro Nakai imitated Mr. Johnny and talked about him on TV as an amusing talk show had an influence on that.

The character of the lovable and funny uncle, who was different from the person accused in “To Hikaru Genji,” became popular among Japanese people as if he were somewhat of a fictional existence. In this way, a foundation was built over a period of more than 20 years that made him a favorite among Japanese people, so I don’t mean to put a lid on the fact that there were issues of sexual assault in the past, but I think he walked away from it as a separate thing.

On the other hand, there have always been children who are called “okini” (favorites) or “supeoki” (special favorites), and I can only vaguely imagine under what conditions and how they are loved, but it is at the level of “on Janie’s lap”. I myself was not fooling myself, but I was following them with a sense of security, thinking that since Mr. Janney was old, he would not be doing the same things he did in the past.

I saw them as “chosen people who could not defy fate” and “special people who could only live here”… (PHOTO: (PHOTO: AFRO)

The hardest thing for me was to be told that I was being groomed.

A. The media has been using the phrase “it’s just a male-on-male thing” as if it exonerates them from the fact that they have been ignoring the issue. Did you have any thoughts on this from a male point of view?

D. It is natural for men to fall in love with each other, but the problem is that it was one-sided and the other party was a minor. I don’t think the term “pillow sales,” which is often used for young actresses and idols, was mentioned even once in the series of news reports.

Maybe there were some Jr. who wanted to take advantage of Mr. Janney, but I think the biggest problem was that the fact that they were of the same sex and that they were boys made them into a special world.

A In my case, I had seen the blatant favoritism toward the so-called okini and speoki with amusement. And then, in the later years of Mr. Janney’s life, when groups and individuals like SMAP and Arashi, who were known by everyone, were not born anymore, I saw it as a sign that Mr. Janney had grown old, lost his divine power, and was no longer in tune with the world. I saw it as a special power.

D I think that people who like Johnny’s have a sense of beauty in the glow of the darkness as well as the light that is unique to them.

C. Some people have pointed out that one of the charms of Johnny’s is the darkness that comes from the fact that Johnny’s had his hands in it, and I think that is exactly what I have been beautifying. I think that is exactly what I was trying to beautify. I can’t deny the fact that I feel that just being cheerful is not enough.

B. If they are just cheerful, they are the same as talents from other agencies. I am sure that there were male talents that only existed in Johnny’s. That is why they were favored by Mr. Johnny. Whether or not this was a result of being favored by Mr. Janney is another question.

A You say that all the children who have been sexually victimized say that they liked Mr. Janney and that they are grateful to him. That doesn’t mean it’s good, though.

C When people point out that it’s “grooming,” I can’t really argue with them anymore. I don’t want to defend the office, but when other people make a “victim” of a talent who was called Mr. Johnny’s “bikini” and who always said that he liked Mr. Johnny, the person himself may feel that the love and favor he had for Mr. Johnny’s and his own activities in Johnny’s up to the present may not be good enough for him. I wondered how he should view it.

If he is a victim and is told it is because he was groomed, I can no longer keep up with his feelings. The whole Johnny’s, all the expressions of affection that I have directed towards someone, becomes because of grooming, doesn’t it?

B The hardest thing for me was being told that I was grooming. I’ve always felt something that can’t be put away with that one word.

It’s even harder for me to say, “It’s not grooming,” because there are actually some things that are true. On the other hand, it’s also hard to deny all the love that I have for my own janitor. I, since all this commotion, what is Tottu’s mental state? I was worried.

I have always felt that “Tootsie loves Johnny’s and is proud to be a Johnny’s member. Moreover, Tottu even plays the role of Mr. Johnny on stage. I wonder if all the things that would have been his spiritual support for more than 20 years since he joined the company have been messed up. I think ……. Of course we have to think of the victim first, but I’m really worried about my own partner.

■[Part 2] “What should we fans have done in the end…?” continued in “Our Redemption,” as told by a Johnny’s fan.

  • Composition Wakako Tago

Photo Gallery2 total

Photo Selection

Check out the best photos for you.

Related Articles