In the days since the Johnny’s press conference last week, more members were able to respond to the changes within their company.
One of the first to talk frankly on national TV on TBS’ GoGo Mas ~ Go Go Smile, A.B.C-Z‘s Kawai Fumito shared many of the same sentiments as fellow Johnny’s talent Nakama Junta on the name of the company as well as how unforgiveable the abuse was. However, when asked to speak directly to his fans, Kawai was much more emotional, saying
For the people who were let down by us (both our fans, and the younger talents), Higashiyama Noriyuki must not be the only one to take responsibility. We talents must take responsibility alongside him as well, and redo everything properly. I would like to properly address and resolve this issue without running away, making sure to put more effort than ever into taking care of the victims, supporting the Juniors, and perform for our fans.
— ともｴｰﾙ。とも汰 (@tomo811_1216) September 8, 2023
KAT-TUN‘s Nakamaru Yuichi commenting on the 10th on NTV‘s Shuichi was frank about the fact that choosing not to change the name of the company was rather difficult to defend in the eyes of the public, though he understood that from the perspective of the talents within the company, this was something they could not be impartial about. Speaking frankly, he said
I joined this company when I was but 15, where I had this view of Johnny’s as being this place where the ones who came before me were these larger than life figures and people had truly built from the ground up. It was because I admired and respected the organization that I was able to take so many risks, so for people like me, that organization has become a part of our identity. On the other hand, thinking about it calmly that simply just isn’t the case. As such, it is extremely hard for me to comment on this matter.
TOKIO‘s Joshima Shigeru also responded with a similar mix of complicated feelings on his Shukan News Leader program where he is one of the main hosts
I am still in the midst of trying to work out exactly how I feel, as I am incredibly conflicted about the matter at the moment. There are pros and cons to everything at this moment in my opinion. But my only course of action here is to simply do my best going forward…
While I had never directly heard about anything regarding the sexual abuse, I was able to piece together what was happening through various tabloids and other sources as well as rumors. It was difficult for me, particularly since I was a teenager at the time, to have to reconcile the fact that the Johnny Kitagawa I knew as a producer and creative director was also a predator.
I am honestly disappointed in his actions. There are probably plenty of people who found our response at the press conference quite hard to swallow, as well as those who continue to have opinions on the matter, but I will try my best to both support the new president will regaining the trust of the fans.
Talking more frankly on the private J-web platform for paying fans, KinKi Kids member Domoto Koichi voiced his confusion about having to reconcile the Johnny Kitagawa he knew with the sexual predator that Johnny Kitagawa also was. Of course, this is an extremely painful process for any person in this situation, and doubtlessly so even for someone who was not directly affected (in his own words) or knew anyone who had been assaulted. He also spoke about trying to work hard to support the fans, the staff, and of course the victims. In that message he emphasized creating a proper and bright environment for the Juniors adding that he was privileged to be in a position where he could do so.
Editor’s note: When we read about these opinions and thoughts, it is important to remember that bystander training particularly when it comes to matters of sexual assault are things that people must actively understand and engage with, which is why it was part of the recommendations as made by the third party report. Vicarious trauma, which is the process through which people experience second-hand trauma as a result of engaging with the victims, is also a very real thing, as is the trauma of having to process the fact that someone they knew and worked with was such a person. As such, while these perspectives are certainly appreciated and insightful, it would be wrong to expect every person to have a well thought out response to all the findings, particularly since it is not out of the question that some of the talents themselves may have been victims.