Farewell Event Held for Deceased Male Idol Producer Johnny Kitagawa

Society Culture

Tokyo, Sept. 4 (Jiji Press)--A farewell ceremony for Johnny Kitagawa, founder and president of major Japanese talent agency Johnny & Associates, who passed away at the age of 87 about two months ago, was held at the Tokyo Dome stadium on Wednesday.

Kitagawa, whose real name was Hiromu Kitagawa, died of subarachnoid hemorrhage from a ruptured cerebral aneurysm at a Tokyo hospital on July 9. He produced numerous hit male idol groups such as SMAP and Arashi.

The portion of the ceremony for people concerned was attended by Johnny & Associates artists and those who belonged to the agency in the past, including singer Hiromi Go, as well as friends of Kitagawa.

The altar, designed to resemble a stage, was adorned with the late agency founder's photograph and his Guinness World Records certificates, and a message reading "Thank You & Forever Johnny." During his lifetime, Kitagawa won three Guinness titles: "the most No. 1 singles produced by an individual," "the most concerts produced by an individual" and "the most No. 1 acts produced by a record producer."

Debut songs of performers managed by the agency and videos of stage events produced by Kitagawa were played throughout the ceremony. Participants, including actress Tetsuko Kuroyanagi, who also serves as goodwill ambassador for UNICEF, laid flowers at the altar.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press