Johnny Kitagawa, the founder and president of major Japanese talent agency Johnny & Associates, has died at the age of 87.
Kitagawa died of a stroke on Tuesday at a hospital in Tokyo.
Kitagawa was born in Los Angeles in 1931 and spent his childhood moving between Japan and the United States.
He founded Johnny & Associates in 1962. The agency has produced many popular male groups such as SMAP, TOKIO, KinKi Kids, V6 and Arashi.
Kitagawa was also known as a music producer and theater director. He was the holder of Guinness World Records titles for the most No. 1 singles and the most concerts produced by an individual.
Kitagawa himself rarely appeared or spoke in media. But he accepted an NHK interview for a program broadcast in January 2018 on condition that he would not be filmed. He said in the program that he thought his role was to create shows that make the audience feel happy.
Media in Taiwan quickly reported Kitagawa's death, as male groups belonging to his agency have held concerts there.
A major newspaper, The Liberty Times, called Kitagawa "the godfather of Japanese idol groups," praising him for producing many pop groups, actors and other TV personalities.