Japan’s AV biz to thrive under TPP

Shukan Asahi Geino Apr. 4
Shukan Asahi Geino Apr. 4
If Japan enters the tariff-eliminating Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the nation’s porn industry may thrive, reports weekly tabloid Shukan Asahi Geino (Apr. 4).

Under the pact, the magazine believes that adult video (AV) productions from the U.S. and Japan will be have to compete against one another like never before, much like agricultural products and automobiles.

Takashi Kadokura is the author of the 2007 book “Why the World’s Below-the-Belt Businesses Are Lucrative,” which provides an outline for the breadth of Japan’s sex industry.

Kadokura, who is also the head of an economic research center, tells Shukan Asahi Geino that Japan has an edge over the U.S. in the porn market, with exports likely to outweigh imports under the TPP.

In evaluating the output of the two countries, the author says each nation has its own style.

“In porn films from the U.S., there are no stories,” says Kadokura. “The heart of each film is the deed itself. However, for Japan, the story is the focus, and the films are often regarded as works of art.”

The key advantage for Japan will be the current popularity enjoyed by baby-faced and young actresses around the world.

“There is an especially strong need (for young actresses) in countries with Caucasians,” says Kadokura. “Japan satisfies this criteria, and I think demand for these films will be high.”

It should be noted that such a position is contrary to that of Shukan Taishu (Mar. 25), which raised concerns about Japanese films being cited under U.S. child pornography laws since the actresses often appear to be under 18 years of age — a consideration that Shukan Asahi Geino ignores.

Indeed, Japanese AV is already available in U.S. However, the gargantuan size of the market could be ripe for expansion.

“In the U.S., consumers tend to pay for porn in hotel rooms as opposed to purchasing DVDs,” says Kadokura. “Thus far, Japanese AV does not participate in this market to a large degree. However, (under the TPP) that may change. This would lead to a boost in copyright fees paid to Japanese AV producers.”

For the reverse, Japan’s use of the infamous mosaic — the obfuscation of parts of images that would otherwise reveal genitalia — poses a substantial problem for U.S. porn passing through Japan Customs.

The issue relates to censorship laws. Article 175 of Japan’s Penal Code prohibits the distribution, sale, or public display of obscene writings, pictures, or other materials.

AV critic TDC Fujiki says that the mosaic requirement could be lifted if the U.S. made the request, much like concessions that might be made in the automobile industry. But with violators presently facing a maximum prison term of two years and minimum fine of 2.5 million yen Shukan Asahi Geino is not sanguine that a modification will be made.

The censorship dates back to a court ruling handed down in 1955. Fujiki argues that since the definition of what is obscene is vague a change may be possible. “There is no basis or concrete foundation,” he says. “In that case, why would there be a need to protect such a position?” (K.N.)

Source: “TPP de Japan adaruto ga poruno Amerika tatakitsubusu!” Shukan Asahi Geino (Apr. 4, pages 196-198)

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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1 Comment

  1. I personally love japanese porn and hate american porn. However, Kadokura is deeply mistaken about the US porn industry and probably the rest of the worlds’ also. There is no “need” in the US for young girls. Americans are deeply opposed to pedophilia and anything resembling it. Also, there are already story based porn films in the US to the degree that the customers seek it out, meaning that Americans don’t really want any story in porn (speaking for the male majority of mainstream customers).

    Americans who have had exposure to Japanese porn always lament the mosaic censoring. While it has been no problem for American porn companies to add mosaic to their videos sold in Japan, it is hardly conceivable that Japanese companies would remove the mosaic on their videos to sell in the US, since this could lead to Japanese customers obtaining uncensored versions of their videos. Regarding the mosaic requirement in Japan, Fujiki states that it could be lifted (for US-made porn videos) if the US requested it, but this is a fallacy. The US porn industry has no political power. On the other hand, the political groups opposed to pornography DO have a great amount of political power. Therefore, the US Govt. would never make such a request on behalf of porn companies. Furthermore, American porn studios have already demonstrated their willingness to add mosaic censoring to their videos in order to take advantage of the Japan market. This can be seen in the availability of censored US porn on many japanese porn dvd/streaming sites.

    Regarding criminal charges against Japanese porn under child pornography laws, I do not see how this can be a serious concern because all employers, in any industry, should have records of their employees’ ages. And the legal minimum age to appear in porn is 18 years, both in the USA and Japan.

    Americans rarely pay for porn in hotel rooms as these videos are ridiculously overpriced. Only the most incurable pornography addicts would pay for that. If one is in a hotel, it is more common to access porn websites through a laptop using the hotel’s internet connection.

    In short, Kadokura is making subjective assumptions about what is common in the US based solely on what is different from Japan’s way of doing things, Japan’s style of accessing porn. Thus, one cannot objectively say that Japan’s porn industry has an advantage in international porn markets.

    For instance, a large segment of Japanese porn is based around “stars” or “idols” with relatively large, loyal fanbases who continually account for a certain level of video sales. By contrast, US porn watchers rarely watch all the videos of even their most favorite actress.

    We can also look at the so-called “story” based porn films. In Japan, these are often focused on fetishized reimaginings of everyday customer-staff relationships in various types of businesses, such as bathhouses, restaurants, massage salons, various types of health treatment centers. This works in Japan because many people experience some form of these interactions, and because there are many, many businesses focused on relieving customers’ stress. In the US, there are MUCH MUCH fewer types of stress-relieving businesses; on top of which, cultural biases regarding masculinity prevent men from taking advantage of the ones that do exist. Additionally, these types of daily interactions (with shop staff), in the US, often result in stress rather than relaxation. One reason is that American culture teaches that people should be independent and do things for themselves, so shop staff often become silently resentful of customers who demand attention. Another reason is that businesses can and do get in trouble for hiring staff based on looks (the only exceptions is modeling, movies, entertainment industry). This means that American waitresses, flight attendants, masseuses, nurses, etc. are usually unattractive. This is why American men fantasize about specific individual women, rather than women in a certain job.

    Another type of story based porn in Japan involves incestuous relationships. This is a deep cultural taboo in the US (as in many countries including Japan). For whatever reason, incest pornography has never achieved lasting popularity in the US. There is no reason to think that the importation of Japanese porn videos would change that.

    Even though I would love to see Japanese style porn take over all regions of the world, all in all, I don’t see that Japanese porn has any particular advantage over other countries’ domestic porn. The reason is simply that each country wants something different from porn and sex in general. Being able to export one’s porn to another country doesn’t mean it will sell well in that country. One thing that Japanese businesses have always had as an advantage over other countries is effective management practices and tenacious desire for new markets. If Japanese porn did somehow sell well in western countries, those would certainly be some of the reasons.

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