TOKYO (TR) – Retired adult video (AV) actress Asuka Hoshino, 30, wrote on her blog last month that she was coerced into performing in the industry.
The revelations follow the arrests earlier this year of persons connected to AV-related companies for forcing a woman to appear in a film. Such action by law enforcement, Hoshino says, may be a sign that society is shifting its attitude about this “serious issue.”
Over her three-year career, Hoshino says that she was forced to appear in the AV industry by a man she calls “Mr. A.”
“I had first been introduced to Mr. A by a big talent agency,” she wrote. “I thought I could trust him. They were very good, telling me that I would never be able to succeed without AV.”
Mr. A was with what was called an investment company located at the time in the Mark City complex in Shibuya Ward. “I was told that they invested in the entertainment industry,” she said. “They mentioned the names of famous record companies, publishing companies and TV shows. That’s how they make girls trust them.”
“I was easily brainwashed”
Hoshino, a native of Niigata Prefecture, broke into show business in 2004, when she was a finalist for the Miss Magazine contest. She subsequently appeared in a number of movies, including “Sentimental Graffiti,” a live-action adaptation of an animation of the same name.
In December of 2010, she made her AV debut for label Soft On Demand. The following month, her second film was released on the same label. That year, sales for her DVDs ranked 23rd on the DMM.com distribution site.
“They told me that I was heading to a gravure shoot. I got there and found out that it was adult video,” she said without specifying the name of the film or label. “My contract didn’t mention a word about adult videos. They told me to show them my passport and I was told to sign my name on a blank sheet of paper. They never gave me my copy of my contract, saying they’d lost it.”
At the time, Hoshino was in her early 20s — a woman who, she says, knew nothing of the world. “I was easily brainwashed,” she said.
“Treating us like objects”
Her salary while working in AV, she said, was roughly equivalent to that of a businessman. However, she felt something was amiss. “They were buying a building and setting up an office at a posh establishment while telling me that they were working like mad to help me realize my dream so I should give it everything I had,” she wrote.
Hoshino says that the company that was claimed to have been set up just for her was in fact for other actresses as well. “They were being told the same thing: that it was a talent agency they’d created just for them,” she wrote. “Everyone was being told that no one else mattered, that they were the star. They were making money with our work but they were treating us like objects. I heard they also changed the name of the company a lot and had a number of these outfits.”
She eventually developed a mental disorder. “I was depressed, I had panic attacks, I was afraid of meeting people, and I couldn’t eat,” she said. “It took me almost three years to be cured. I’d been told it was tough to go back to the working world. The doctor told me I would have died if I’d continued to work in AV. I’m still seeing my doctor.”
After a switch to label S1, Hoshino ended her career in AV in 2012. She currently lives in a modest apartment, the same one as when she was in the industry, paying less than 100,000 yen per month. She works part-time and attends fan events to make ends meet.
“I tried to commit suicide”
Hoshino says she was vulnerable. “I listened to what Mr. A told me even if it made me sick,” she wrote. “That’s how dangerous being brainwashed can be. The Aum Shinrikyo cult sect had deceived many really smart people. I think what Mr. A and his group are doing is the exact same thing. I can’t ever forgive him for all the hardworking women he must have brainwashed to date.”
Hoshino has heard that Mr. A is still working in the AV business. “I can’t understand how he can bear to continue to work in the industry when he led a friend of mine, who was also an actress, to commit suicide,” she said.
She says Mr. A was only concerned with money. “He didn’t care if he ruined a person’s life or led someone to commit suicide. Can someone really want money that badly? They made me believe that we were like a family. But the moment I quit working in AV, they changed completely. They didn’t even come to see me when I tried to commit suicide.”
She continued: “Mr. A used to say that he’d do anything to get what he wanted, which includes taking our lives. He’s extremely smart and a girl in her 20s is no match for him. He treads very fine lines so he’s just on the verge of committing a crime and he’ll use any method to make sure that you won’t be able to get away.”
In spite of this, Hoshino does not hold a grudge against the industry itself. “Of course, there are actresses who are really thriving in the industry,” she wrote. “It isn’t something that’s easy to do, and I truly respect them, and I think it’s a fine occupation. I don’t believe that the whole industry is evil, it’s given me a chance to meet people, and I have nothing against it.”
“God is watching”
Recent events may indicate that a shift in how society views the industry may be under way. 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.
In November, police arrested three presidents of AV talent agencies based in the capital for allegedly dispatching actresses to bathhouses to serve as prostitutes.
In the past, Hoshino says she went to the police and a lawyer but was ignored. Though she did not mention the arrests this year specifically, she senses that the aforementioned indifference seems to be changing. “I think society has finally started to see that there’s a serious issue here,” she wrote.
According to Hoshino, Mr. A is currently under investigation by the police. “I’m so happy to hear that. It really is true that if someone does something bad, it’ll come back to haunt you,” she said. “I hope he gets arrested soon. God is watching.”
“I seriously wished that I’d never been born”
Hoshino is now working with a lawyer, a support group and the police to prepare for a court order to stop sales of DVDs featuring her. “It’s funny that the actress has the most at stake and yet she doesn’t get paid at all,” she said. “[Mr. A is] still selling compilation DVDs of my appearances, and the manufacturers pay him because he and his group own the rights. I don’t receive a single yen.”
Her past continues to haunt her. “They never asked me if I wanted to use a stage name, and I ended up using my real name,” she wrote. “Even today, it still causes trouble for me. People have smartphones today and images and videos are sent around the globe, they’ll never disappear.”
She added: “I still think it would be hard for me to think about getting married or having children. I’m still scared about men and sex. Back then when I was being forced to appear in AV, the gap between what I had to do and my lack of experience with men had been unbearable. I thought about my family and friends and the pain had been excruciating. I seriously wished that I’d never been born.”
The passage of time has allowed her to make these revelations. “I couldn’t do it before because I was scared of what they might do — not just to me but to the people who are close to me. I didn’t have the courage,” she said. “But society has changed, the police have started to act, and there are more people coming out into the open about things like this. I can finally talk. To young women in their twenties, I want you to be careful.”