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J-pop giant Johnny Kitagawa dies at 87

Boy band hit-maker behind SMAP and Arashi helped shape Japanese music scene

Members of SMAP, one of Johnny Kitagawa's biggest J-pop groups, perform during their concert in Beijing in 2011.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Johnny Kitagawa, the music mogul who created Japanese supergroups SMAP and Arashi, died here Tuesday of complications from a stroke at age 87.

Born as Hiromu Kitagawa in Los Angeles, he served in the American military during the Korean War. Kitagawa later worked at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, where he was inspired to promote boy bands after seeing the movie "West Side Story."

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