In this week’s news roundup, we have the latest on Ichikawa Ennosuke IV. The highly reputed kabuki actor was accused of sexual and power harassment in an article published on Thursday morning. Soon after, his manager found him collapsed in his home. Sources believe he attempted to kill himself. Emergency responders called to the scene then found both his parents lying faceup in a different room. While Ennosuke survived, his mother and father were pronounced dead. Police are now investigating the circumstances surrounding their deaths.
Also this week, we have the latest on the sexual abuse scandal rocking the J-pop world. On Sunday, Johnny & Associates president Julie Keiko Fujishima issued an apology to those who claim to have been assaulted by her uncle. Fresh allegations against the talent agency’s founder were made by a former Johnny’s member a couple of days later. On Thursday, world leaders, including Joe Biden, arrived in Hiroshima for the G7 summit that begins today. And in sport, Shohei Ohtani continues to make history for the Los Angeles Angels.
Ichikawa Ennosuke Found Unconscious Following Sexual Harassment Claims
Shortly after 10am on Thursday, popular kabuki and television actor Ichikawa Ennosuke IV and his parents were found collapsed in their home in Meguro ward, Tokyo. His mother, 75, was confirmed dead at the scene. His father, fellow kabuki actor Ichikawa Danshiro, 76, died after reaching the hospital. Ennosuke, 47, whose life is reportedly not in danger, was found unconscious in a closet in his semi-basement room by his manager. Next to him was an alleged suicide note with his name at the bottom.
When woken by his manager, Ennosuke was said to be in a daze. Later in the day, he was able to converse. His parents were discovered lying faceup, covered with a futon on the second floor. Neither had any physical injuries. Earlier in the morning, News Post Seven published an article in which Ennosuke was accused of sexual and power harassment toward actors and staff in his theater collective. As well as kabuki productions, the Tokyo native has also appeared in several well-known movies and dramas, including Hanzawa Naoki and The Magic Hour.
Johnny’s President Issues Apology Over Sexual Assault Claims Against Founder
Julie Keiko Fujishima, the president of Japan’s biggest talent agency, Johnny & Associates, issued a video and written apology on Sunday to those who were allegedly sexually abused by the company’s late founder, Johnny Kitagawa, who was also her uncle. “I believe I was responsible,” she said. “At the time I was director, but in name only, and I was not fulfilling my responsibilities. I also believe that I am responsible for not actively seeking to know about the matter or pursuing it myself.”
Allegations of sexual abuse against Kitagawa were first published in the weekly magazine Shukan Sankei 58 years ago. Then, in 1999, 12 minors accused him of sexual assault in a series of interviews in Shukan Bunshun. The story made global news in March of this year thanks to the BBC documentary Predator: The Secret Scandal of J-Pop. The following month, former Johnny’s Jr. member Kauan Okamoto told the media he was assaulted by the music mogul between 15 and 20 times when he was a teenager.
Latest Allegations Against Kitagawa
Two days after Fujishima’s statement, another former member of Johnny’s came forward to speak about the abuse he suffered at the hands of Kitagawa. Actor and dancer Yasushi Hashida appeared alongside Okamoto at a Diet hearing arranged by the opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan on Tuesday. “When I was about 13, I was sexually abused two times,” he said. “For me, it was a big deal. What adults should be doing is creating a place where children can stand up straight and persevere in the world of entertainment without being victimized.”
For decades, the issue was swept under the carpet. Even when former Four Leaves member Koji Kita wrote about being sexually abused by Kitagawa in a book in 1988, little was made of it. Television networks, it’s believed, were afraid to take on Kitagawa in case they lost access to the agency’s stars. However, since the BBC documentary and Okamato’s revelations, they’ve had no choice but to report on the issue. A petition calling for a third-party investigation into the claims made against Kitagawa currently has over 19,000 signatures.
Ukraine War and China Aggression to Be Discussed at G7 Summit
The 49th G7 summit kicks off in Hiroshima today, and it would seem that most atomic bomb survivors are happy about it. In a recent survey by The Yomiuri Shimbun, 100 hibakusha were asked if they appreciated the global event being held in their city. More than 80 responded in the affirmative. As to the reason why, 69 respondents stated that it would provide an opportunity for leaders to learn about the reality of the bombings. The survey also revealed a growing sense of unease due to an increasing nuclear threat.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, a Hiroshima native, is expected to highlight the risk of nuclear proliferation during the summit. Discussions will also focus on China’s aggression toward Taiwan and the war in Ukraine. As well as the G7 nations — Japan, the U.S., France, the U.K., Germany, Italy and Canada — leaders from the EU, Australia, India, Brazil, South Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Cook Islands and Comoros have also been invited to attend. Around 24,000 security personnel have reportedly been deployed to Hiroshima for the three-day event.
Kishida Meets With Biden, Sunak and Meloni Ahead of Summit
It all begins on Friday morning with the Japanese PM and his wife, Yuko Kishida, greeting the G7 leaders and their partners at the Peace Memorial Park. They’ll then meet atomic bomb survivors at the museum. The first day of the summit also includes a working lunch and a working dinner, the latter of which is set around the theme of diplomacy and security. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, initially expected to participate remotely, will now reportedly be joining the summit in person. Topics over the weekend include strengthening engagement with partners, responding to complex crises, common efforts for a sustainable world and promoting a peaceful, stable and prosperous world.
The Japanese PM met with some G7 leaders on the eve of the summit, including American President Joe Biden. The two men reportedly reaffirmed the importance of strengthening the countries’ bilateral security alliance and agreed to closely cooperate to address China’s assertive behavior. Later in the evening, Kishida spoke with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who was wearing Hiroshima Toyo Carp socks, over dinner. They signed the Hiroshima Accord, an enhanced Japan-U.K. global strategic partnership. Kishida also met with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. They agreed to further expand industrial ties in areas such as semiconductors.
Ohtani Finishes One Hit Short of Cycle
In baseball, Shohei Ohtani made history again on Monday in the Los Angeles Angels’ 9-5 win over the Baltimore Orioles. He became the first starting pitcher to reach base five times in a game since the New York Yankees’ Mel Stottlemyre in 1964. It was close to being an even more memorable evening for the two-way superstar as he finished a double short of the cycle. His 10th home-run of the season came against the same opponents on Thursday. Chicago Cubs’ outfielder Seiya Suzuki, meanwhile, became the first Japan-born player to homer in three straight plate appearances in his side’s 7-6 loss to the Houston Astros.
In basketball, Rui Hachimura impressed again for the Los Angeles Lakers in the opening two games of the NBA Western Conference finals. He hit 17 points from the bench on Tuesday and 21 points in the second game on Thursday. It proved in vain, though, as they lost both matches to the Denver Nuggets. The third game is on Sunday. In other sports news, former Japanese midfielder Yasuhito Endo was voted MVP of the first 30 years of the J-League. Celtic’s Kyogo Furuhashi was named the Scottish Premiership Player of the Year. And at the X Games, Japan’s Ginwoo Onodera, 13, became the competition’s youngest men’s street skateboarding gold medalist.