Yamashita Tatsuro on Johnny Kitagawa Abuse Scandal: “My Respect for Him Has Not Changed”

A few days ago, songwriter and producer Matsuo Kiyoshi tweeted that his contract with his management company, Smile Company, was terminated prematurely due to him speaking about the Johnny Kitagawa abuse scandal and company president Julie Fujishima in the media. He then said that the person who invited him to join Smile Company, Yamashita Tatsuro, agreed with the ending of Kiyoshi’s contract.

To combat the rumors going around in media and on the internet about this issue, Tatsuro addressed it today on his TOKYO FM radio show “Yamashita Tatsuro no Rakuten Card Sunday Songbook.”

Tatsuro started of by saying that since he doesn’t use social media, he can’t addres this issue online, so he is using his radio show as his sole means of telling his side of the story.

Tatsuro then spoke of Kiyoshi’s true status at Smile Company, saying that he wasn’t an actual employee of the company, but that it was an advisory relationship, meaning that he couldn’t really be fired. Tatsuro also mentioned the agreement between each side’s lawyers. He added that the decision to end the contract was made by the head of Smile Company, and that he had no input in the decision. Tatsuro continued, saying that he hasn’t spoke to Kiyoshi since the decision was made. In fact, he hasn’t seen Kiyoshi in a long time, with their relationship mainly consisting of email exchanges.

“I admit that Matsuo’s one-sided criticism based on speculation about Johnny Kitagawa’s sexual assault problem was one of the reasons for the termination of the contract, but it is by no means the only reasons,” said Tatsuro. He mentioned that there are other reasons, but he would not disclose them at this time. Tatsuro said that the biggest piece of gossip going around is that he has a bias against Johnny & Associates and that he was involved in the abuse; this is all baseless. “In today’s world, those who stay silent will win, false information is spreading more and more, so I feel the need to speak honestly and frankly about what I think.”

Tatsuro said that until the scandal broke this year, there were only vague rumors about Johnny. He claimed that he didn’t even know about the trial in 1999. He said that his business partner was working for Johnny & Associates then, but he as a manager never told inside information to Tatsuro, a talent. He said that if sexual assault really did occur, that it is unforgivable, and that a third party investigation is essential.

He said since he knows nothing of the abuse, he can’t speak of it. He is only a person who provides music to Johnny & Associates. The company has a wide range of businesses, including dance, theater, film, and television. He had absolutely no way of knowing about sexual assault at the company.

Tatsuro reminisced on first coming across Johnny & Associates and Johnny in the 60s as a junior high student, via the group Johnny’s. A few years later when he heard their overseas recordings, he was so moved that he featured them on “Sunday Songbook.” In the late 70s, Johnny heard his music and complimented him on it. A few years later, his business partner became the director of Masahiko Kondo, leading to the creation of the song “High Teen Boogie.” After that, he provides many more songs to the company, meeting many excellent talents along the way, allowing him to expand his range of work and grow as an artist.

Thanks to seeing many Johnny’s performances, he was able to meet KinKi Kids, providing the songs “Glass no Shonen” and “Amazing Love” to them. His bond with them continues. Since the performing arts are creates by humans, communication between humans is essential. No matter what field, this won’t change.

Tatsuro believes that if you can’t build a good relationship between people, good work won’t come out of it. “Even now, my respect for Johnny, who produced many talents, has not changed,” he said. “The most important thing in my life is relationship and kindness. The many talents Johnny nurtured have warmed the hearts of people in post-war Japan, made them happy, and gave them dreams. I have been blessed to work with many talents, being able to create works that can be sung for a long time, I am deeply grateful for this opportunity.”

“As an individual and as a musician, I will never forget my gratitude to Johnny,” Tatsuro said. “I recognize Johnny’s talent as a producer, but I think that is a completely separate thing from accepting sexual abuse.” He continued, saying, “There is no sin in the work, nor the talents. Again, I am not advocating for sexual assault. I just want to treat the talents with respect, as I’ve seen their efforts in performing arts up close.”

He commented on SMAP and King & Prince breaking up, saying that it’s sad and he’s not sure why it happened. He just hopes that the groups that are still together can continue their activities for a long time.

He spoke about Otokogumi reuniting, and hopes, along with his wife Takeuchi Mariya, that SMAP, Arashi, and King & Prince will do the same. Despite all the allegations going around, his thoughts on thyme groups haven’t changed.

He concluded his statement by saying, “In my 48 years as a musician, in order to repay the kindness I have received from many people, I will continue to support talents from the standpoint of a musician. I believeit is my duty to bring out their talents and create good songs with them. If my attitude is interpreted as conjecture or being wrapped up, then that’s fine. I’m sure those people don’t need my music. This is my report on this matter. I’m deeply sorry. Thank you for your continued support.”



We sometimes use affiliate links in our content for the things we write about and related products our readers may be interested in.

You are not obligated to act on these links. Still, if you do, you'll be helping offset some of the costs associated with maintaining NanteJapan as we receive a small commission from purchases made.

Thanks for your support!