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Operations Firm for Johnny Named Starto Entertainment

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The office of Smile-Up. Inc., formerly Johnny & Associates, in Tokyo

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Japanese talent agency Smile-Up. Inc., formerly Johnny & Associates Inc., said Friday that the name of a new company taking over its talent management operations will be Starto Entertainment Inc.

Johnny & Associates changed its name to Smile-Up. in October, in response to a sexual abuse scandal involving its late founder, Johnny Kitagawa.

Smile-Up. had said that it would focus solely on operations related to compensating sexual abuse victims while a new company would be created to take charge of the talent agency’s talent management operations.

Atsushi Fukuda, head of a consulting firm, will become CEO of Starto Entertainment.

Smile-Up. said that the new firm will aim to launch full-scale operations in April 2024, after completing preparations and procedures related to the handover.