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Johnny showbiz empire shaped pop music scene for decades

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If I were to pick out a celebrity whose name was a household word but who died virtually "faceless," Johnny Kitagawa would be about the only one who fits the bill.

The iconic founder of Japan's top talent agency, Johnny & Associates Inc., died on July 9 at age 87.

News of his demise was accompanied by a photograph showing Kitagawa in a hat and dark glasses, rendering it impossible to read his facial expression or guess his age.

Kitagawa was notorious for his personal philosophy of never letting the public see his face or hear his voice.

According to a colleague of mine, Kitagawa agreed to be interviewed only on condition that he not be photographed. One of........

© The Asahi Shimbun