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Japanese entertainment tycoon Johnny Kitagawa dies at 87

TOKYO — Johnny Kitagawa, who produced famous boybands including Arashi and SMAP and was a kingpin of Japan’s entertainment industry for more than half a century, has died. He was 87.

His office, Johnny & Associates, says Kitagawa died from a subarachnoid hemorrhage Tuesday at a Tokyo hospital, where he had been treated after falling unconscious June 18.

Born in Los Angeles, Kitagawa spent his early childhood in Japan before and during World War II, and later grew up in the U.S. before returning to Japan after the Korean War.

Kitagawa established his office in 1962, spearheading Japan’s entertainment scene and sending many artists to fame.

He called the artists and trainees his “children,” and was affectionately known as Johnny-san, though he hardly appeared in public.

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