TOKYO (TR) – When Yua Mikami made her adult video (AV) debut a little over five years ago, the 27-year-old was making a transition from the idol industry.
Just before making the change, she had left the idol group SKE48 after she was seen kissing a member of a boy band in a photograph published by a tabloid.
Thus far, the scandal has proved to have been a lucky break.
Since making her debut, Mikami has not only become one of the AV industry’s top starlets, she has turned into one of the nation’s most popular social media figures and a fashion icon for girls.
“Originally, I didn’t have a big dream of changing the entire adult industry, but I certainly wanted girls to recognize and support me, which was my goal,” she tells the web site for weekly tabloid Shukan Bunshun in the first of a three-part interview. “At that time, it was thought that girls and AV would never come together. So I wanted to break through that.”
“I wanted women to see me”
From the start, Mikami also made a direct effort to reveal insights into her personality and interests to her fans.
“When I made my debut, I wanted women to see me,” she says. “So I showed my favorite clothes, cosmetics and other things that I usually use, mainly on Instagram. That way, even girls can get familiar with them.”
This is a different approach from the usual AV actress, who rarely shares details of her personal life.
“The number of girls who wanted to imitate my fashion and makeup then gradually increased,” she also tells Bunshun. “Most of my female fans are in their twenties, but now I also see fans who are in high school and college. That’s why with Instagram I’ve got to be careful about [content] that is not too radical.”
While the coronavirus pandemic swept through Japan last year, Mikami was boosting her profile. As alluded to earlier, social media is a key. She now boasts more than 5 million followers on multiple platforms.
She uses Twitter mainly to disseminate information, targeting her tweets to be published at around 8 p.m., when most of her fans are active on the platform.
Including photographs in tweets is important. “Many male fans come [to my Twitter account] for erotic purposes,” she says. “So it is nice if I can grab their attention with a picture that includes my cleavage to go along with the text of the tweet.”
She adds, “I take about 100 photos per post. Of those, I use one or two. So my iPhone’s camera roll is just my own photos, which makes me feel uncomfortable.”
Mikami is a native of Nagoya. She joined SKE48 under the name Momona Kito in 2009. Five years later, she left the group after after the emergence of the photograph of her kissing Yuya Tegoshi of boy band NEWS.
In June 2015, label Muteki released “Princess Peach,” Mikami’s AV debut. The following New Year’s Day, her second disc, “Pleasant Feeling,” hit store shelves.
Her AV career was well-received from the start. At the DMM Adult Awards 2016, a marquee event to honor the top female talent in the industry, she topped a field of 10 contestants in receiving the Best New Actress prize. The following year, she was crowned Best Actress at the same event.
Yet Mikami’s AV work is almost an afterthought nowadays given her other endeavors. In addition to leading the pop group Honey Popcorn, she models a line of lingerie on shopping site DRW and promotes her own clothing brand Your’s. (“I will definitely make you believe in love. I’m all yours,” the site for Your’s assures customers.)
Given this workload, she only attends AV shoots twice a month. But her impact on the industry remains large. Trade magazine Gekkan Fanza ranked her as the fourth most popular actress over the first six months of last year.
“Eroticism is not important”
Many of Mikami’s female fans write to receive everything from advice about sex to recommendations about which of her films to watch. One woman working in the sex industry asked her for tips on how to serve male customers.
“It was interesting to learn that [female fans] aren’t watching AV films for sexual satisfaction,” she says. “Rather, it’s like a fan video. Eroticism is not important; instead, it seems that they are looking at the face and body of the actress on the screen. They appear to be keeping track of details, such as makeup and facial expressions during the act, in order to put them to use with their boyfriend.”
And yes, some men (and boys) ask to have sex with her. But they are not a reflection of the typical male of today, she believes.
“I think young boys are too concerned about how people see them,” she says to Bunshun. “It may be that they are concerned about not wanting to be disliked and become hesitant. This may be a selfish prejudice, but I think that there are many people who have never seen an AV. To have sexual desire is not a problem. Young people, please watch AV with great pride!”