Janis Studio, regarded as Japan's most popular agency, finally made the public willing to face up to the structural problems hidden inside after the release of a documentary, and the women's fan editor takes you to see what is hidden behind the forced silence of survivors...
Today (March 2023), the BBC aired an hour-long documentary "Predator: The Secret Scandal of J-Pop", in which three male artists from Janis Studios in Japan exposed the alleged sexual assault of the late founder of Janis Studio, Johnny Kitagawa , thus opening a series of allegations of abuse, and survivors came forward one after another.
Under the pressure of public opinion, Julie Fujishima Keiko, president of Janis Office, released a video apology in May, and then set up a panel of experts to commit to thoroughly investigating the incident.
The Women's Fan editor takes you through how this series of events took place, with its latest follow-up.
Photo | Keiko Fujishima Julie
Johnny Kitagawa has been sexually assaulting for 50 years, with more than 100 victims
Three months after Janis announced the formation of a panel of experts to investigate the incident, the full report of the incident was released in August. The report points out that Johnny Kitagawa has committed long-term, extensive and repeated sexual harm to many Janis members in the Janis office from the 1970s to the 2010s, which is confirmed to be true, and the cumulative number of survivors may be as high as hundreds."
Fifty years, hundreds of sexual assault cases, the wounds behind these numbers, while stirring up the emotions of the masses, also raised the question of why no one finally spoke out until half a century after the incident, and what caused these survivors to be silenced.
Maybe we can start with the background of Janis Studio, or Johnny Kitagawa as a person, to the existence of the Japanese entertainment industry.
Photo | Johnny Kitagawa
In his heyday, Johnny Kitagawa was known as the king of Japanese boy bands, single-handedly creating combinations including SMAP, Kondo Mahiko, Kinki Kids, Arashi, King & Prince and other groups that dominated the Japanese pop music scene and film and television circles, so Janis Studio is regarded as the most popular agency in Japan and naturally has considerable influence in the entertainment industry.
In fact, in response to Johnny Kitagawa sexual assault suspicions, in 1999, in the gossip magazine "Weekly Bunchun", with the statements of several anonymous men, exposed to the public, but the news media did not report the matter significantly because of the interests of Janis & Neptica, the incident finally ended with "Weekly Bunchun" paying Johnny Kitagawa and his office 600,000 yen (about NT$130,000) each.
The same silence occurred within Janis.
According to the incident report, the right to decide from the hiring, debut to production of artists is controlled by Johnny Kitagawa , so the survivors dare not resist, and internal artists actually know that if Johnny Kitagawa sexually assaults, they can get preferential treatment in their careers, otherwise, they will be frozen, and the appeasement of the firm's senior management and internal personnel actually contributes to the continuous occurrence of similar incidents in the Janis office.
As a result, internal concealment, media silence, and intricacies have caused these survivors of sexual assault to be silenced, and what we see from it is behind the silence, from the reappearance of powerful sexual assault.
President Julie Fujishima resigned, and many companies were cut
With the revelation of the report, the successive reports of the Japanese media and the continuous fermentation of public opinion, President Julie Keiko Fujishima resigned in the previous (8) month, and the original position will be taken over by Janis Genzu artist Noriyuki Higashiyama, and the press conference held today (10/2) also announced that the firm will officially change its name to "SMILE-UP". However, this move did not convince the public that Janis Firm would be responsible for the incident.
Insiders of Janis said that Fujishima Jasmine Keiko holds 100% of the shares of Janis Office, even if she resigns, she still has influence in the firm, and the so-called resignation is only to remove the title, does not mean to delegate power. Shimon Ishimaru, deputy representative of the "Janis Sexual Harm Problem Association", also said that Fujishima Jasmine Keiko cannot be relieved of responsibility by resigning, and that Janis should specify the solution and how to provide relief.
Screenshot of the press conference of Janis Office
As for those companies that cooperate with Janis Studio, including Morse Hamburger, Meiji Foods, Asahi Beer, McDonald's and other companies, they have also recently announced that they will re-evaluate their partnership with Janis artists. NHK TV recently stated that it will not start a new cooperation with Janis artists, so the "Red and White Singing Competition" at the end of the year is expected to no longer have Janis artists.
However, Janis' victims' group did not approve of the company's move and stressed that the immediate termination would not solve the problem and might even affect Janis' subsequent supervision and reform.
We have not yet waited for a specific relief from Janis Associates. However, no matter how Janis handles the follow-up of the incident, while we pay attention to the development of the incident, we must not forget that behind these numbers are flesh and blood individuals, and the pain left on the survivors is also real, and only by facing the existence of power coercion and making positive changes can we give the survivors a safe environment of courage.