Hiromu Kitagawa was born and raised in Los Angeles, and served in the U.S military during the Korean War. Kitagawa later worked at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, where he was inspired to promote boy bands after seeing the movie West Side Story.
In 1962, Kitagawa formed the talent agency Johnny & Associates. Since then, his agency gave birth to such successful all-male acts as Shonentai, Hikaru Genji, KinKi Kids, Tokio and many more. Kitagawa’s Guinness World Records include the most No. 1 singles produced by an individual.
On June 18, Kitagawa was rushed to the hospital after suffering a stroke caused by a ruptured cerebral aneurysm. He was then pronounced dead on July 10, 2019.
Kitagawa had his share of ups-and-downs during his long career in the music business, and the entire Japanese entertainment industry mourned for him.
“My life changed so much since I met Johnny-san. Please rest well,” said Satoshi Ono, the leader of Arashi, one of the most successful idol groups created by Kitagawa’s talent agency and Johnny & Associates Inc.
Another member, Jun Matsumoto left a statement, “I wanted to watch more shows created by Johnny-san and talk more with him.”
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