After backlash and pressure from the press and social media, Johnny & Associates management confirmed that the entire company (including offshoots) is changing its name to Smile-Up in a press conference.
Management explained that Johnny & Associates would essentially be dismantled, and Smile-Up would replace it as a brand-new company. That said, Johnny & Associates isn’t being dismantled until compensation is completely paid to Johnny Kitagawa’s many victims, which now number more than 300 people.
Smile-Up will be a talent agency that contracts with individual and group talent and won’t carry over Johnny & Associates’ legacy in any way. As for group names like Kanjani Eight that have Johnny’s name directly built in, they will be changed to something different despite the potential of brand-name loss.
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