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HOME  > Past issues  > 2023 April 19 - 25  > Grooming is sexual abuse
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2023 April 19 - 25 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Grooming is sexual abuse

April 21, 2023
Akahata editorial (excerpts)

Former members of major talent agency Johnny and Associates (aka "Johnny's") testified that they were sexually abused by the agency's founder Johnny Kitagawa (who died in 2019) on a continuous basis when they were teenage boys.

They appeared on a BBC documentary program aired on March 7 and the weekly "Bunshun" magazine in the March 23 issue, giving testimony to the same effect. They said that the boys were talking to each other, "We must put up with this if we want to become stars."

Taking advantage of the boys' dream debut, the figure who had great power in the Japanese entertainment industry continued to sexually abuse many underage boys. Why is it that Kitagawa’s long-term inappropriate behavior did not become a big problem?

On the BBC program, the former members do not seem to recognize what Kitagawa had done to them in their boyhood days was sexual abuse, and they are even expressing their gratitude and love to Kitagawa. BBC points out that this is due to "grooming".

Grooming is a tool that a sexual abuser uses to manipulate and win over a potential victim to his side for a sexual purpose, making the victim believe that they have a special bond. Thus, the victim has no doubt that he is being sexually exploited.

The abuser using manipulative grooming gives the victim the impression, "This man is very kind and emotionally responsive." Once tamed, the victim cannot entirely denounce the adult even if a terrible thing happens later.

To force a victim to accept sex while making the victim feel indebted to an abuser is a typical grooming tactic.

Mass media has not widely covered the suspicion, out of fear of undermining the relationship with the agency. Japanese society has pretended not to notice the rumor, dismissing it with the expression, "That is the entertainment world." The lack of awareness in both mass media and society should come into question.
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