The late Mr. Johnny Kitagawa lived on the top floor of a tower apartment building in Aoyama, Tokyo.
There were numerous bedrooms, a dining table where many people could dine, a soundproofed room with karaoke, and a theater room with an array of games.
He had everything he wanted, and many Jr. members came to visit him every day. If they were liked by Mr. Johnny, they were given a key and could come and go as they pleased. However, it was also the site of sexual assault.
This is the third installment in the epic half-life of Okamoto Kauan, 27, who has revealed the dark side of a major entertainment company by accusing Mr. Johnny of sexual assault. This is a sequel to ” Part 2: The Jr. days of singing at the Tokyo Dome and then working part-time at a convenience store.
A nightmare befell Kauan, who joined Johnny’s from his hometown of Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, with the goal of becoming an artist. The following is Kauan’s recollection.
“I had heard rumors for a long time that Mr. Johnny was attacking Jr. members. But I thought it was an urban legend. I thought it was just an overblown story born out of jealousy toward the more successful members.”
Kauan, go to bed early.
It was March of 2012, not long after Kauan joined Johnny’s. After work, he would go to bed with the other members and ask them to join him in Johnny’s. “I’ve been working with you for a long time,” he said. After work, he and the other members went to Johnny’s house to stay the night. After finishing dinner, he said to me, “You guys go to bed early.”
You guys go to bed early. Kauan, go to bed early.
The named members had to sleep in Mr. Johnny’s bedroom or in a nearby room. Sssssssssss…While Kauan was sleeping in a nearby room, he heard Mr. Johnny walking with slippers in the middle of the night. Mr. Johnny came into the room, took off the covers and lay down around Kauan’s waist.
“My heart skipped a beat,” he said. “He made me took off the yukata I was wearing and stroked my lower body over my underwear. Then he touched me directly with his hand and… with his mouth. I was so uncomfortable, but I just held it in. Later, when someone asked me, ‘Did he do it to you?’ I pretended to be asleep so that I could blurt out, ‘I don’t know.’”
Kauan was sexually assaulted 15-20 times before leaving Johnny’s. It is an experience he does not want to recall. Still, he says his gratitude to Mr. Johnny has not changed.
“What Mr. Johnny did is unforgivable as a human being,” Kauan said. “But for me, he is a great benefactor who guided me into the world of entertainment. If I had not met Mr. Johnny, I would not be where I am today. Even though I have suffered damage, my sense of gratitude has not changed.”
“On the other hand, I also think that Mr. Johnny had a complex. His father was a Shingon Buddhist monk and a strict man, but he lived with the secret that he liked children of the same sex. He was not tall either. I think it was because of this sense of inferiority that he stayed behind the scenes and never appeared on the stage.”
It’s the path you have decided to take.
With Johnny’s encouragement, Kauan’s career in the entertainment industry developed. However, he was conflicted.
“My dream is to be a solo musician like Justin Bieber and inspire many people around the world. With Johnny’s, you have to stick to the group you belong to.”
“My work increased, but I was appearing in so many variety shows and dramas that I began to wonder, can I continue like this? I began to question whether it was self-preservation to stay with Johnny’s, where I had a stable job, while I was worried about my future.”
In August ’16, kauan quit Johnny’s. When he informed Mr. Johnny of his intention to leave, Mr. Johnny agreed, saying, “It’s the path you decided to take.” Kauan immediately made a fresh start. He joined forces with a composition company and began working with Jr. members who were also worried about their future. At first, they were well received. However,
“The record company said they couldn’t have us debut at the same time. Our relationship began to deteriorate and we broke up. I lost my salary and my job, and I spent my days renting a one-and-a-half-mat trunk room for 30,000 yen a month, leaving my belongings there, and going to the public bathhouse.”
“I just can’t stand still. In July 2019, Johnny passed away. What I was reminded of were Mr. Johnny’s words, ‘You, do it.’ that were put to me before his death. I decided to move on to the next stage, writing songs on my own”.
Kauan has his sights set on the Tokyo Olympics scheduled for the summer of 2020. He wants to convey the sporting event in Japan to his Brazilian roots. He is determined to make a comeback in Brazil. However, trouble strikes again.
“The project was scrapped when the Olympics were postponed due to the spread of the new coronavirus. I made plans to go to Brazil again in June of 2022, but this time the cameraman and DJ disappeared just before the event. The project fell apart twice. I went around and apologized to everyone involved in Brazil.”
“Bad things kept happening. Immediately after that, my mother was hospitalized. I must have been feeling betrayed by my colleagues, and I must have been feeling a lot of heartache. I went beyond my mental limits and suddenly fainted. The diagnosis at the hospital was panic disorder. The anxiety made it difficult for me to go out.”
While spending his days in agony alone, Kauan made a decision that he won’t be pushed around anymore. That he will not lie to myself, andI will be honest with himself. The story of how he came to this decision and the accusation of sexual assault will be introduced in detail in Part 4: The meaning of the tears in the lyrics of the new song, which will be distributed on October 26 at 7:00 a.m.
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PHOTO： Shinya Nishizaki, courtesy of Cowan