The Tokyo Reporter

AV actress Saki Kozai continues porn career despite blowing whistle on industry

Saki Kozai appears in “Race Queen” for label Muteki

In last year’s July 14 and July 21 issues of weekly magazine Shukan Bunshun, Saki Kozai, a 30-year-old porn star, exposed the corrupt practices of her talent agency.

In the articles, Kozai revealed her history of being brainwashed by the agency’s chief. She also described being forced to make her adult video (AV) debut — she was told she was working on a modeling assignment — and offer sexual favors as a form of business entertainment.

“Two and a half years ago, I finally broke free of the brainwashing I’d received and left my previous agency and went independent,” Kozai told Bunshun last year. “Though people weren’t interested in listening to me at the time, they’re more open now. They’re willing to look at unscrupulous agencies as a social issue, and I’ve gotten the attention of the police and my lawyer. I’m glad I didn’t give up. For the first time in a long time, I feel alive.”

The response has been enormous: National newspapers, television stations and online media have flocked to cover her story. As a result, the dark side of Japan’s AV industry, one in which women are increasingly coming forward with claims about being forced to perform, has been shared with the world.

However, there is one very peculiar element to the story: Kozai is still an actress in the industry — and she is showing no signs of slowing down.

“People have kept asking me why I am continuing my job as an AV actress,” she tells the same magazine in its January 5-12 issue. “But it isn’t possible to turn back the hands of time, to go back to being the person I’d been before my debut, so I decided to keep going as far as I can in being an active sex worker.”

After Kozai’s revelations, the practices that place within the industry immediately attracted the attention of the police. In June, Tokyo police arrested Norihide Murayama, the former president of talent agency Marks Japan, and two other persons for violating the Worker Dispatch Law by forcibly dispatching a woman to appear in an AV production. The following month, Murayama and the other persons each paid fines of between 600,000 yen and one million yen as ordered by a Tokyo Summary Court.

“For a long time, there have been a lot of cases where young women were recruited and told that they could become models or celebrities and ended up being tricked to appear in AV productions,” a city news editor tells the magazine. “In March [of last year], a human rights organization [Human Rights Now] released a report that compiled these types of violations. It led to attention in the Diet. This accelerated activities by the police in grasping the situation. And in response, the media began looking at the issue of women who had been forced to appear in AVs.”

Kozai stood out among the women. She was the only person who revealed her face and name in sharing her story.

“I have no regrets about revealing names in my accusations,” she says. “Although I was made to debut against my will, it wasn’t that I was trying to deny the industry itself. Rather, I want it to be free of corrupt recruiters and agencies, and I don’t want there to be any more victims like me. That’s the sole purpose of my appearances in the media.”

Her efforts to raise her voice meant digging into old wounds, and there were times when she lost her balance, both mentally and physically. Beginning this year, she will start receiving help.

Saki Kozai appears in the “Crime Before the Husband’s Eyes” series for label Attackers

“I’m going to start receiving real therapy for the traumatic experiences I went through by going back to where I initially came from and facing and overcoming my past,” she says. “I’m also making steady preparations for a lawsuit against the president of my former agency.”

Meanwhile, the AV industry appears to be at a major turning point.

“Many in the industry have been sent to the prosecutor’s office, brought in for police questioning and had their facilities raided on suspicion of violating the worker dispatch and other laws, and that includes the head of Kozai’s former agency,” a source close to the AV industry tells the magazine. “Production companies and relevant manufacturers now have no choice but to take a good look at their agreements and video appearance contracts with their talent.”

Moves are also being seen within the government. A gender equality conference has taken up the issue of women being forced to appear in AV productions at four of its sessions.

“I would like to work in sex education someday,” Kozai says. “It would be gratifying if I could leverage the experience that I’ve been through in my work.”

Source: “Kyoyo kokuhatsu Kozai Saki ga kataru ‘soredemo watashi ga AV ni deru riyu,’” Shukan Bunshun (Jan. 5-12, pages 46-47)

Note: Brief extracts from Japanese vernacular media in the public domain that appear here were translated and summarized under the principle of “fair use.” Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy of the translations. However, we are not responsible for the veracity of their contents. The activities of individuals described herein should not be construed as “typical” behavior of Japanese people nor reflect the intention to portray the country in a negative manner. Our sole aim is to provide examples of various types of reading matter enjoyed by Japanese.

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