Music Mogul Johnny Kitagawa Dies at 87

Society Culture Music Entertainment

Music producer Johnny Kitagawa, known for managing boy bands like SMAP and Arashi, died in Tokyo of a stroke on July 9, 2019. He was 87.

Born in Los Angeles in 1931, Kitagawa first entered the show business world when he assisted at performances by the singer Misora Hibari during her postwar trip to the city. After working for a time as an interpreter for the US Embassy in Tokyo, he set up his first group Johnnies, consisting of four members of a youth baseball team, and established the talent agency Johnny & Associates in 1962. He then built up a male idol empire, representing star acts throughout the subsequent decades including Gō Hiromi, Hikaru Genji, Tokio, V6, Kinki Kids, Hey! Say! JUMP, and King & Prince.

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