The land of the 150,000 porn stars

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Everything began last May, when Atsuhiko Nakamura’s Being an AV actress arrived in Japanese bookstores with its candid description of the reality of being a porn star today. The well researched figures it contained took many readers by surprise, in example where it revealed that the current salary for actress is far lower than the princely fees of old, averaging about 380 dollars per shooting day.
The kind of people who doesn’t read this site also found strange that 80% of newly produced AVs (‘Adult Videos’) tend to fall into very specialized and pretty weird niches like chikan, or “molestation in public places”. But that was just the beginning.

Given the male, gerontocratic society they live in, Japanese women apparently find starring in porn videos a strongly empowering experience, without much social stigma to worry about. “Being taken care of” by experienced partners is often cited as another appeal, as much as working at all in a hostile job market. In fact, one of the most repeated newsbites from the book was about the baffling number of girls rushing to this industry, where «any available position has 25 girls willing to fill it».

The real shock came however when an employee of an adult video production company crunched some numbers, and revealed in an interview that one Japanese woman in 200 actually performs in such videos. «35,000 releases and an average of 2,500 debuts per year give us a total of about 150,000 professional and amateur working actresses» he said «and if one considers that Japan has 30 million women between the ages of 19 and 55…»

…It results in the amazing number above. «My experience says that one in fifty girls approached in the shopping area of Shibuya will immediately sign on to appear on video» said a porn director in another interview published by the weekly magazine Shūkan Gendai. «Which is nothing compared to the general sex trade». In fact, statistics lead to believe that the so called ‘fuzoku’ industry currently employs about 460,000 women.

Given the scandalistic nature of media worldwide, however, last week’s edition of the magazine Spa! published an investigative report where these figures were double-checked by asking the girls of Shibuya themselves. Direct questions received predictably negative answers, but about ten percent of the interviewees confirmed they knew somebody who worked as an AV actress.
One girl said that there was one among the 100 students in her college, and another stated that «it is a job just like being a shop attendant», roughly confirming the astounding diffusion and acceptance of a career most of their mothers would have never considered.

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