It is between scenes on the set of an incest-genre porn shoot, and this 65-feature actress, legs crossed and her feet inside blue slippers, is lounging on the sofa in her makeshift dressing room.
The room is one of three on the third floor of a well-worn, multi-story house in Nakano, Tokyo that has been rented by Zeus Collection, a maker of adult video (AV) products.
Cans of Wonda coffee and packaged cakes sit on the coffee table. Shoda’s cigarette case, adorned in skull imagery, is there too. Skimpy pink tops with silver sparkles and lace bras wait their turn on hangers off in the corner.
Shoda retrieves a smoke and begins reading bits of dialogue from today’s script. Her makeup artist sits patiently in a nearby chair.
Outside her door, the activity in the narrow hallway is brisk: cameras are being moved into place, green cables scrape along the wood floor, and lights, monitors, and bulky microphones are receiving minor adjustments.
For Shoda, the blandness of the setting — not to mention the potential immoral implications — is not an issue. Quite frankly, she has more important things on her mind; she has to focus on orgasms.
“I really concentrate on the scene,” she explains as she puffs. “I have to make it sexually stimulating. I have to really get inside the role to genuinely make it exciting.”
The job of the actress is to bring ecstasy to the screen, to indeed sell it as authentic so as to eliminate any doubt. To do so, she plays with her mind – perhaps by even drifting off to another location (or even onto another guy) – to ensure that her audience is getting a performance they can deem satisfying.
As her male counterparts (her son and his school mate) trim their nails and smoke with a few still photographers one floor below, the makeup artist begins applying the finishing touches to Shoda’s cheeks and forehead with a pink pad.
The crew continues prepping. Director Tomotsuya Ohmura, outfitted in a beret and olive cargo shorts, surveys the work near the doorway. “Today is mother fucking,” he laughs.
Momotaro Pictures & Publications, which produces many of the films shot by Zeus, has an extensive catalog dedicated to this theme.
The players are typically mothers in their 30s and their sons, but stepsons, frustrated salarymen, and daughters in nurse uniforms can enter the mix in this ongoing series of productions titled “Kinshin Sokan,” or literally sex with a blood relative.
Though the plots are typically exceptionally thin, the crux usually surrounds a mother who is lonely or becomes jealous of her son’s girlfriend.
The action can get started in a number of ways: the son catching the mother masturbating, the mother catching the son reading a porn manga, or the mother simply seducing her son in the kitchen after revealing that he is her “type.”
Shoda’s son, outfitted in a black high school jacket with gold buttons, has just started going through a solo scene in which he reads an erotic book to practice the proper way to remove a woman’s clothing.
Shoda continues relaxing by sending phone mails. She reaches for another cigarette.
“Communication with the director is the most important thing,” she says. “We can’t make a nice DVD unless the director and the actress have the same vision.”
It may seem rather ridiculous but the dialogue and timing of the action are rehearsed under the director’s guidance. Lines are read multiple times, and something as simple as a door being opened is practiced more than once.
Shoda was recruited through an agency by Momotaro because she is a specialist in this type of fantasy.
The fetish is rooted in an attraction to the mother’s maturity and an assumed sexual hunger that she has nurtured beyond that of the typical early twenty-somethings that dominate Japan’s AV industry.
Shoda indeed has an element of refinement; with her brown hair to her shoulders, she speaks very directly and with soothing confidence.
Beneath Shoda’s pink cotton top, it is obvious that she has rather large breasts. But more important, says Ohmura, is that they are real. This type of maternal role demands such a combination.
“The viewers,” he says, “don’t like the manufactured look of fake breasts.”
Such an element may seem trivial, but the actress is the star in Japanese AV. The whole production centers on her.
Unlike the story of “Boogie Nights,” a film depicting the lows and highs of an American porn star in the 70s and 80s, male actors are merely part of the supporting cast in Japan.
“That would be unheard of here,” Ohmura says of the possibility of a male being a star.
Given this strong focus, it is up to her to shine bright — especially during the most rapturous moments.
How does she do it?
“It depends on the communication with the guy,” Shoda says, “and if the concentration is on the mark, I’ll orgasm. If the atmosphere is not good between the two players, then it becomes difficult.”
Leading up to the point of climax, the actor and actress tend to correspond back and forth with very short statements in numbing repetition. Initially the dialogue is to confirm that there is indeed a mutual attraction. As the temperature between the two rises, it is to ascertain whether various grabbing or kissing actions are highly pleasing or not.
Aki Tomozaki, another actress with an extensive incest resume, says that she needs to set her mind free.
“I really think of something external that will get me excited,” says the extremely busty Tomozaki. “I really imagine something stimulating, like having sex with my boyfriend. It is the only way you can do it because the viewer will know if it is not real. There is so much competition that guys know what the real thing is.”
An assistant enters Shoda’s room with a few bottles of water. She takes a mint from an aluminum case. It is time for the masturbation scene…
In the hall, staff with white towels around their necks peek past the cracked door leading to the bedroom. Shoda has just gone inside and begun to remove some of her clothing.
On her back, Shoda begins by reaching between her legs with her right hand. She then slowly begins stroking herself with her fingers. Cameras zoom in. Microphones hang overhead to capture every little slap of flesh.
She ignores all distractions. Her eyes are nearly shut with her head slowly tilting from side to side. Moans subtly emanate.
Shoda increases the speed of her movements. She gradually begins to utter slight screams, her forehead moistening with sweat.
Her son lies on his bed in his adjacent room and reads through an erotic comic, oblivious to what is unfolding.
Shoda then flips herself over so that she is on her knees, rear to the camera. She reaches back between her legs and continues.
“Cut!” barks Ohmura.
Exhausted, Shoda rolls back over. Promotional cameramen swing the door open.
She is now slumped onto a striped pillow. Her green underwear is over her left thigh. Her bra is pulled down so as to reveal her nipples. Her right hand is still between her legs as the still cameras circle around her.
Art, this is not, Shoda admits, but she does get a certain satisfaction if she can make a lasting impact.
“Selling a lot of DVDs is nice,” she says. “It fills part of that need. But I’m really happy if I can see that my appeal is going beyond the lens, if I’m really capturing the eye of the viewer.”
The photographers exit. The next scene starts. The door opens, and Shoda looks up.
That communication she mentioned earlier is about to commence…
Note: This article originally appeared in July 2006 on the Sake-Drenched Postcards Web page.