Determining that an advertisement in a recent edition of the Asahi Shimbun newspaper was a tad on the salacious side, weekly tabloid Shukan Bunshun (Apr. 22) is defending its typically titillating turf by calling the conservative daily into account.
Placed on page 25 of the April 2 edition of the Asahi was an advertisement for an “energy-enhancement” supplement. “It builds men’s confidence,” reads the copy. Positioned next to the large headline is a very attractive lady. She is 39-year-old Reiko Shimura, who is given the titles of “exclusive advisor” for Horiki, the name of the medicinal product, and “V-Cinema actress,” which refers to direct-to-video film productions.
Her debut in the latter industry was at the age 35. Still active, she has performed in 230 features, mainly adult video (AV) productions in which she was a “mature” actress.
“Two years ago, she retired and became a soapland gal in Yoshiwara,” says a writer, a careful follower of Shimura’s career, about her work in Tokyo’s brothel quarter. “But she had to quit due to medical issues.”
She returned to AV in January of this year.
“Mature women are the leading genre in porn,” says Torajiro Yamamoto, who is an expert on the industry. “Ladies in their 40s and 50s are the driving force behind this popularity. Men who are too tired or stressed out from their daily lives can find comfort in down-to-earth, mature women.”
Shimura tells Shukan Bunshun that she received more than one call about her appearance in the Asahi. “Some suggested that the letter ‘A’ was missing at the front of ‘V-Cinema actress,'” she grins.
The picture used for the aphrodisiac ad was taken two years ago. The parent company, Shinko Tsuhan, told the tabloid that it has been placing these ads in newspapers once a month for about a year.
“You couldn’t imagine the Asahi allowing this kind of thing in the past,” says an individual from within the advertising industry. “Every company has standards for ads that can appear. The Asahi didn’t include performance-enhancement products previously. However, the text does not say AV. It also reads ‘food supplement,’ which is acceptable. So they crafted the expressions carefully.”
The industry insider estimates that such a placement would cost around 8 million yen for a nationwide version and roughly half that if targeting Tokyo only.
Shukan Bunshun says that Shimura’s appearance shows that even the Asahi has had to change its stance given the continuing drop in advertising revenue.
“We evaluated it on the basis of the standards set for health products and decided to go forward,” read a statement from the Asahi’s public relations department.
The article includes a photo of Asahi president Kotaro Akiyama and smirks in closing: What has happened to your pride?
Source: “‘Moto soopujo’ AV joyu ga tou Asahi no puraido,” Shukan Bunshun (Apr. 22, page 35)