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Weekly tabloid Shukan Taishu tries a (slightly) women-friendly approach

Shukan Taishu Aug. 20-27

Weekly tabloid Shukan Taishu is a member of what might be called the “Big Three” of erotic publications in Japan.

Along with Shukan Jitsuwa and Shukan Asahi Geino, the magazine has for decades provided its mostly male readership with the latest news and speculation on the adult video industry, the sex trade, the criminal underworld, gambling and sports on pulp pages interspersed with numerous color photographs of nude models.

The ingredients of that recipe could be changing with the times — albeit slowly, says news site An insider at the magazine tells the site that a new editor-in-chief started in July. The source says the new incarnation of the weekly can be seen in the August 20-27 issue, which features actress Mitsu Dan on the cover.

Part and parcel to Big Three publications is the use of an array of erotic terms, including “sex” and “pubic hair,” on their covers in large type faces. For Taishu, the edition featuring Dan shows that it is lessening the prominence of some of these words when it referring to women on its covers.

For example, a yellow block of text promoting an article on the genitalia of the nation’s top female personalities, including Satomi Ishihara and Haruka Ayase, has been relegated to the upper right corner, just below four lines for another article that include asoko, meaning “down there,” a slang term for genitalia. (It should be pointed out that the feature article — “40 years of uncensored erotica featuring 150 actresses” — remains in large text in the center.)

Further, the image of Dan is comparably small, positioned in the lower right corner and showing her attired in a conservative kimono gown (i.e. no cleavage). The photograph is a stark contrast to days past when the image of a busty model was standard. “It’s basically a waste to use it like this,” the insider scoffs.

High-profile projects

Shukan Taishu is published by Futaba Publishers. In the past, the new Taishu editor has been behind a number of high-profile projects for the publisher, including “Irregular Secrets,” the tell-all tome by Mariko Ishihara, “Sayuri,” the autobiography of oft scandal-hit lawmaker Sayuri Uenishi, and a photograph collection of former prime minister Junichiro Koizumi.

A source at an advertising agency tells that sales of Taishu rose in July over the month before, which has slightly eased the nerves of upper management at Futaba Publishers about its flagship publication.

The change might be in preparation of the Olympic Games.

“With the Olympic Games coming to Tokyo in 2020, there is concern that erotic publications will be under greater scrutiny regarding sales at convenience stores and other outlets,” the ad agency insider says. “Although weekly magazines have not been called into question yet, there will remain anxiety from the business-side of things if the issue is overlooked.”