I was part of it…”
The media coverage of Janie Kitagawa’s sexual assaults continues unabated. In this second part of our emergency roundtable discussion with Johnny’s fans, we consider the future of the Johnny’s office.
- Ms. A (Female): Editor. After being “boxed in” by the office, she is a fan of the Jr. unit “Shonen Ninja.
- Mr. B (female): Media relations staff; 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 actual persons appear in the text, they are the personal opinions and perceptions of the fans and are not statements of fact.
One after another, programs and commercials are ending…
A. Everyone understands that the talent is the victim, and almost no one blames the talent, but programs and commercials are ending one after another, aren’t they?
B It certainly seems to end, doesn’t it? So in the end, it’s a tough situation for the talent… It’s hard to say.
C In my case, the person who brought up Arashi was Julie-san, so in that sense, I trusted Julie-san’s ability and sense. I really like the lineage of TOKIO, Arashi, and Kanjani Eight that Mr. Julie created. But in recent years, I think that line has become less and less interesting.
D. Inochi is not that type of person. I think he is an important figure because he is well-liked by the general public, and he is the face of the company.
C I have the impression that Inochi and Kazama, who seem to be capable members of society, are valued. But I honestly don’t feel that they have the essence of Johnny’s.
B: At the stage of the BBC report, I thought that Johnny’s would probably continue as before, not saying anything, waiting for time to pass without responding, and getting away with it.
In the midst of all this, the fact that Mr. Julie apologized, face to face, in itself made me think, “Johnny’s has changed. Of course, with the development of social networking, criticism of Johnny’s became more visible, and they had to take action, but if Mr. Julie had not been the president, they would not have gone this far.
After Janie and Mary retired and he was put in charge of the management, I think that he worked hard to clean up the “dark” side of the office. Generally speaking, that may not be enough, but compared to the past, it is nothing at all.
A It is shocking to see Johnny’s and male idols from other agencies performing together on music shows and dancing together.
B Because of that, I have felt that Johnny’s has become a normal agency in recent years. When Koyama (Keiichiro), Togoshi (Yuya), and Yamap (Tomohisa Yamashita) were suspended from work after a report in a weekly magazine, I was surprised to see how clean they had become. But they still did not face the biggest darkness, Mr. Janney’s sexual assault. I knew that if Mr. Julie had made up his mind to clean up the office, he would have to face this issue at some point.
I really don’t like the fact that the criticism of Mr. Janney is half-hearted or has nowhere to go…
A Now I wonder what we fans should have done in the end.
C Yes, that’s right. What should we have done? I thought that Janie’s sexual assault was a structural problem that could not be solved by the otaku, and that it was too big a problem. So I tried not to think about it, and maybe I was running away from it.
It’s not something that one otaku can do anything about, and I didn’t think I had the power to move a large number of otaku, at least not in the way that I thought I did.
The only thing I could think of that I could have done was to regularly raise the issue online and so on. On the other hand, what could I have done? I myself would like to know if Johnny’s can do anything to save Johnny’s or to stop the sexual assault of Johnny’s.
B. I don’t know. But I guess it comes down to this…it was wrong because Mr. Janney was a sexual abuser. Since the perpetrator, Mr. Janney, is dead, there is a tendency to say that “it was not good to be a janitor, either. Of course, there are many things I feel I did not do well, but I feel that because Mr. Janney is dead, the biggest culprit is being left out of the equation.
But I feel that the biggest culprit is being left out of the equation because of Janney’s death. I think that Mr. Janney should be criticized the most.
A I myself was once asked by a friend more than 10 years ago what I thought of what the Johnny’s fans thought of what Mr. Janney had done to the boys, and I escaped by simply saying, “I don’t think it’s as bad as it seems now.
That doesn’t mean I can do anything for the talent, it’s just self-satisfaction, but I think I have to be aware that I was complicit in it, and that I just have to have a sense of redemption. That makes it a little hard for me to watch Johnny’s.
B I will continue to go to Tottu’s performances in the future, and I don’t think I’m going to stop being a fan because of this fiasco. Even if Tottu quits the office in the future, I will continue to support him.
I just hope that the Johnny’s office will not run away from the situation. If they have done a reasonable investigation, I think they should make the results public or disclose to the public how they have dealt with the victims. For me personally, this time I really felt and reflected on the fact that I did not consider idols as human beings, and I strongly felt that I should support them while understanding that “they are human beings just like me.
I couldn’t help but notice the sense that the members of Arashi have been used for convenience lately…
D There was news that there are no more minors in Johnny’s debutantes, and I think this is a big turning point of the times. I think it will probably drag on for the next 5 years or so, and since times will be tough, I think we will have to focus on how we can make it less Janney-esque and less boyish.
On the other hand, one of the charms of Johnny’s has always been that boys who have not even changed their voices yet sing love songs that are a little too grown-up, since the Showa period, so I hope that they will be carried on in a way that fits the times without losing this charm.
C. In my case, the first reason is that my own carrier was Arashi, but I don’t want Arashi to be used to clean up the mess of TV programs and commercial contracts being terminated in the aftermath of this sexual assault issue.
I just can’t help but feel that the members of Arashi are being used for convenience these days. Of course, Arashi is the strongest and most effective asset that Johnny’s has, so I understand their intentions, but I think they are using them too cheaply.
Sho-kun’s comment in “News Zero” was a major turning point for me. When I saw Sho-kun say with tears in his eyes, “There are people who are hurt by speculation,” I felt again that my favorite person in such a sparkling world was actually involved in this turmoil in reality, and at that moment, my world had already flipped upside down. I was in a situation where I didn’t want to know any more information.
Sho-kun is a smart person, so I am very curious about how he views the office now and what he thinks about the future of the office. Also, on a personal guess, I like Shonen Ninja, so I really want those boys to be happy.
D I feel that if it is done in the wrong way, it could lead to a big firestorm, but for example, Johnny’s has always been good at charity, so I think it would be good if there is an opportunity to show how clean they are by holding a charity event where all Johnny’s perform for those who have been affected and are suffering. I think it would be a good opportunity to show how clean we are.
A Well, if we do it now, it will probably cause a severe firestorm. First of all, I hope that they will investigate thoroughly and properly disclose how they handled the situation, not who did it.
Composition： Wakako Tako