Japan’s AV actresses feel pinch as salaries slide

Anri Sakaguchi
Anri Sakaguchi made her AV debut for label Moodyz in October

TOKYO (TR) – On April 30, former adult video (AV) starlet Mihiro appeared on variety program “I Will Explain Tonight” on internet broadcaster Abema.tv.

During the appearance, she made an astounding claim about her salary while employed in the AV industry, saying that she could buy a residence in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward with her earnings for a single year. “For one film, I was paid enough to buy a car that could carry a lot of people,” she added.

When it comes to earnings for actresses in the AV biz, the range of salaries is wide with former celebrities being at the upper end — but, according to one insider, even even top performers are feeling the pinch due to an industry-wide stagnation, reports Cyzo (May 9).

The source, a writer covering the AV industry, believes that Mihiro, who debuted in 2005 and appeared in 24 films while on the roster of two agencies, was not exaggerating with her claims, saying that she could have easily made more than 100 million yen per year with her per-film fee exceeding 5 million yen. However, those days are long gone.

“The performance fees for AV actresses are decreasing year by year,” says the writer. “A typical actress might be able to fetch 1 million yen per film. But, with contractual stipulations sometimes placing a limit on the number of appearances per month at one, that means an annual income of only 12 million yen. Even if one factors in side work, such as gravure (pin-up) shoots and event appearances, it’s tough going.”

Industry-wide stagnation

The industry is currently at something of a crossroads. In recent years, it has suffered due to the prevalence of digital downloads and, most recently, claims by actresses who say they were forced to appear in productions. As a result, salaries for performers are not what they once were.

Anri Sakaguchi provides an interesting case study. Speculation has been rife about the earnings of entertainer-turned-porn-star in light of recent developments.

Anri Sakaguchi appears in "The Celebrity Is a Soapland Girl" for label Moodyz
Anri Sakaguchi appears in “The Celebrity Is a Soapland Girl” for label Moodyz

In April, Sakaguchi, 26, was accused of attempting to extort about 30,000 yen in cash from a bar host in Shinjuku Ward. Subsequent reports have revealed that she has accumulated a substantial debt due to frequent visits to host clubs.

Sakaguchi, a Tokyo native, is the daughter of popular actress Ryoko Sakaguchi. She began appearing in a number of television series after entering the entertainment business in 2008.

Sakaguchi made her AV debut for label Muteki in October. Earlier this month, Moodyz released her latest film, “The Celebrity Is a Soapland Girl.”

In attempting to estimate the remuneration for Sakaguchi, the aforementioned insider provides the following breakdown: “It is widely understood that the fee for her debut was 120 million yen. When you are talking about a former celebrity like her you start off with a figure over 100 million yen. But then 60 percent of that goes to the agency right off the top. Then there are other costs, like for personnel. In the end, she’ll be left with 20 million yen.”

In the case of Mihiro, she was referring to the share she received, meaning the difference is stark, continues the writer. “At that time, the industry was doing well, and she was a favorite,” the writer says.

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