Asia News: ‘Scathing’ Report In Johnny’s Sex Abuse Case; Asagiri Jam; Hallyu Comes To Macau; Head In The Clouds To China

NEWJEANS BABY: K-pop girl quintet NewJeans steals the show in its Japan debut at the Marine Stage in the Zozo Marine Stadium in Osaka. An estimated 30,000 people attended the performance, prompting security to close off some sections of the stadium for safety reasons. (Photo by Siyoung Song / 2023 ADOR)


‘Scathing’ Report Slams Johnny’s & Associates

A team of third party experts appointed by Johnny’s & Associates, one of the biggest talent agencies in Japan, to investigate the alleged sexual abuse of young male idols for decades by its late founder, Johnny Kitagawa, delivered its report on August 29.

The report was described by The Japan Times as “scathing,” recommending that the agency’s current president, Julie Keiko Fujishima, a niece of Johnny Kitagawa, step down to take responsibility.

The gist of the report is the implication that the company knew about the abuse, since it had been reported by marginal media outlets as long ago as the 1980s, and yet did nothing about it.

The experts interviewed 41 people as part of their investigation and believe that Kitagawa “started sexually abusing boys in the 1950s, and then at his agency from the 1970s to the 2010s.”

Despite news reports and one court case, says the report, “Johnny’s & Associates did not take appropriate actions” to find out if the allegations were true.

Fujishima issued a formal apology on the agency’s website in May following a BBC documentary on the abuse that was aired in March.

The documentary included statements from several of the company’s past idols who spoke about their experiences being abused by Kitagawa.

Since then, more former idols have come forward. Kitagawa died in 2019 at the age of 87.

Asagiri Jam Lineup Announced

The lineup has been announced for this year’s Asagiri Jam, the annual two-day outdoor camp-in festival organized by Japan’s Smash Corporation, which also puts on the Fuji Rock Festival.

Unlike at Fuji Rock, however, Mt. Fuji is visible from Asagiri, which takes place in a meadow, usually in early October.

This year’s edition will happen Oct. 21-22 on two stages and a DJ tent.

The roster features The Album Leaf, Badbadnotgood, Chet Faker, Kassa Overall, Kitty, Daisy & Lewis, Tommy Guerrero, and a whole bunch of Japanese acts, including OOIOO, toe, and Quruli.


Hallyu Pop To Debut

Another festival making its debut in Chinese territory is the Hallyu Pop Fest, which will take place on the lawn outside of the Wynn Palace casino resort in Macau’s Cotai district on October 21 and 22.

The Hallyu Pop Fest is a traveling showcase of K-pop stars that in the past has been held in Singapore, London and Sydney.

The Wynn Palace’s owner, Wynn Macau Ltd., released a statement announcing that the headliners of the festival will be NCT Dream and SHINee, along with eight or so supporting acts.

In the statement, the Wynn Macau president and vice chairperson, Linda Chen, said, “Music tourism is on the rise around the world, and this annual K-pop festival has rapidly become a global sensation.

“By hosting major international music festivals such as these at Wynn Palace, our goal is to put Macau on the map as a top-tier destination for international events.”

As part of this push, earlier this year the top K-pop girl group, Blackpink, performed two sold-out shows at the 16,000-seat Galaxy Arena, which is part of the Galaxy Macau integrated resort run by casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd.

Meanwhile, another edition of the Hallyu Pop Fest will take place at Lion City in Singapore on November 12, featuring Taeyang of the boy band BigBang and four other K-pop groups.


Head In The Clouds Comes To Guangzhou

The Head in the Clouds festival, which has been called the “Asian Coachella,” will take place Sept. 23-24 at Chimelong Music Square in Guangzhou.

It will be the first time the festival, which brings together acts from the Asian diaspora, will take place in China.

The choice of venue seems to be taking advantage of the huge popularity of festival-like events in China since the end of the pandemic.

According to the South China Morning Post, the Guangzhoul Chimelong Tourist Resort also includes “animal attractions, a circus, a water park, and an amusement park,” and apparently has long been a popular draw for residents of Hong Kong, which is only 43 minutes away by high-speed train.

Among the artists announced so far are Higher Brothers, the first Chinese hip hop crew to achieve international success through collaborations with Soulja Boy, Denzel Curry and others; Rich Brian, a Chinese-Indonesian rapper who has appeared on a number of Chinese TV programs and worked with RZA of Wu-Tang Clan; Milli, a Thai rapper-singer who appeared at Summer Sonic in Japan and whose 2021 single, “Mirror Mirror” has been streamed 50 million times on Spotify; and Akini Jing, a singer-songwriter from Yunnan, China, who made her debut in Taiwan 15 years ago.

Head in the Clouds first took place in Los Angeles in 2018 and has since grown to New York, Jakarta and Manila.

In 2022 it was held as part of Coachella by its organizer, the Asia-oriented music label 88rising.