Press "Enter" to skip to content

Sex ban: Japan law enforcement trying to reshape AV industry

Tomoka Nanase
AV actress Tomoka Nanase invites guests to her residence on site

TOKYO (TR) – Japan’s adult video (AV) industry has faced multiple challenges over the past year.

Reports of women being coerced to perform in films and the targeting of uncensored content have resulted in multiple busts of production companies and talent agencies.

“The aim of law enforcement is to ban the act itself in AV productions,” an investigator tells evening tabloid Yukan Fuji (Oct. 3). That “act” is full sex — and the ultimate goal is a makeover for the industry.

The crackdown first targeted claims by women regarding coercion to perform. In June of last year, Tokyo police arrested the former president of talent agency Marks Japan for sending a woman to appear in an AV production against her will.

Following that arrest, 52 individuals, including AV actresses, were referred to prosecutors on charges of indecent exposure in the filming of an AV production at a campsite in Kanagawa Prefecture.

“A feeling of uneasiness”

The clampdown has not been restricted to film production personnel. In November of last year, three presidents of talent agencies based in the capital were arrested for dispatching AV actresses to soapland bathhouses to serve as prostitutes.

“Every day, there is a feeling of uneasiness,” an AV insider tells Yukan Fuji.

Police have also been enforcing the requirement under the law that male and female genitals be censored. In March of this year, Michael Tharp, a 34-year-old employee of the management company for site, was sent to prosecutors at the Tokyo District Court for allegedly participating in the upload of content to the site in which genitalia was not obscured.

“The risk of being busted is high”

To avoid being busted, the servers for are hosted overseas. Boasting approximately 300,000 members, the site includes about 4,300 films featuring around 370 Japanese AV actresses.

A representative of a site similar to tells Yukan Fuji that law enforcement is a constant concern. “Some of [the content] was shot and edited overseas, but most of it was produced in studios in Tokyo,” the representative says. “Moreover, because we are doing the production and delivery ourselves, the risk of being busted is high.”

According to the tabloid, the goal of law enforcement is to make the industry’s content less extreme, meaning the elimination of the filming of full sex and a push toward soft-core content. “We want a return to the level of that of Nikkatsu ‘roman porno’ or early ‘pink eiga’ productions,” the aforementioned investigator is quoted.

Driven underground

Throughout the crackdown, police have had an eye on the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020. The initiative, however, has raised concerns that the industry will not disappear but be driven underground — a notion that the investigator does not dispute.

“Some in the AV industry, who have become unable to earn an income, are partnering with dating clubs and adult parlors to employ actresses to perform illegal acts, including the provision of prostitution,” the investigator says.