crime

Victims speak up as Japan moves to protect young people in porn

35 Comments
By Yuki Kawaminami

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© KYODO

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

35 Comments
Login to comment

It's about time someone did something. I'm not anti-porn at all, but the industry is in sore need of stricter regulation.

There are two worlds within the industry: the professional high value production side, where women chose to be in porn, actively pursue a career, and who are valued for their ability to draw a large audience. They are treated well and given consideration by their production companies. They make good money, retire, and often continue working in some way in the industry, e.g., in production.

Then there's the amateur dark side, where they make cheap videos with poor production and low budgets that are meant to fill up the shelves and sell only a few copies at low prices. In that world, they don't want to pay the actresses properly and don't care about their mental or physical health as their plan is to use them up and spit them out. The producers take advantage of young, naive women, often underaged, who really and truly don't know what they are getting into until it's too late. They go to an interview after having been told it's something simple, like topless modeling, but are then asked to perform something completely different and more extreme. They feel threatened by the hard-faced, mean-looking men who surround them, and feel they can't say no without putting themselves in danger. This performance, as noted in the story above, gives the porn producers the leverage they need to force the woman to continue to perform. It's a story as old as time. And it's about time something was done to protect these women and give them a clear way out so they can escape that world.

I don't think those who have no experience with the Japanese underworld of porn can really understand what these women go though. It really is criminal, abusive, and sickening.

7 ( +31 / -24 )

The initiative seems positive, special protection is needed for people being pressured to perform sexual services, specially because they can later be forced to continue precisely because of the nature of the work. But unfortunately in these matters japanese legislation seems terribly bland and fuzzy in the protection it gives to victims.

I can't be optimistic in the outcome when so many other problems related to the sex industry are still completely unsolved, but I would be very happy to be proved wrong.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

"...she was blackmailed into having a yearlong sexual relationship after the man threatened to share compromising photos he took without her consent..."

She didn't consider going to the police? Or did she? This is a very serious case of abuse and the guy is a hard-core criminal. Hate to sound callous, but she's calling for better and easier access to public services, and -- it seems from this story at least -- she herself chose not to reach out for help when she was in desperate need of it.

5 ( +13 / -8 )

"If I get into porn, maybe I can make what happened to me seem like no big deal. This would help me get over the damage." So, she went into the shoot thinking that by re-enacting her past, she might be able to overcome it.

The mere fact that this was her thought process of getting over her past sexual trauma and related PTSD is horrifying. Japan really needs to normalize and make transparent, mental health services. I really hope she gets the proper and professional help she needs and deserves.

This initiative is a good first step forward to collaring an industry that can be so manipulative and exploitative. Of course, such regulations should have been put in places eons ago but better late than never.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

Look I'm not trying to be insensitive here and if there has been some abuse or non payment of promised salary/income or whatever, it needs to be looked into it forced to pay up the actresses. Having said that it was their choice to enter this industry, nobody forced them to do it. They chose to undress themselves and act in sexual acts and to be filmed for a mere 20.000 yen.

Who in their right mind would do that? So you can't complain that people have taken advantage of you or that they should have paid you more after the deed. But these days people do anything for a new iphone or 20.000 cash

-9 ( +11 / -20 )

The problem as I see it is that when Women or even Men report to the police their encounters the police almost does nothing out of NO RESPECT for the victims.

The best way to protect these individuals is to publish a HOTLINE so they can call at first then meet and report their cases. This worked very well in other countries because most victims are afraid to go and meet face to face at first.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Prostitution has and will be around for as long we have blood running in our vanes, people who has the talent and ability to perform Porn acts will continue to join the industry buy the thousands, some will ask why?

Simple, Easy work for those who have it in them, some make fast money in a short period and get out of it fast too if they are lucky and have the will to do it.

Some get stuck and become slaves, whatever the outcome will be it is the government job to regulate this industry, TAX it, protect all involved with the proper laws just like any other industry, if that can't be done then shut it down which is almost IMPOSSIBLE.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

If you want to protect young people from Porn then make it illegal instead of the multi-billion dollar industry that it is.

-26 ( +5 / -31 )

Japanese porn is one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever seen. And it’s not because of nudity since everything is pixelated. All the girls sound like they’re being raped. Disturbing. What’s sexy about that? I’m sorry if people have an unfortunate upbringing but everyone has choices. If you want a normal life and a decent husband and family, you probably shouldn’t go into porn and get pounded by 50 guys at once. Get a normal job at conbini or something

6 ( +12 / -6 )

@Jexan

Making it illegal would only make things worse for women and men working within the industry.

Firstly, it would make them criminals. Secondly, there would be absolutely no regulations in place to protect them since they world be working in an illegal field.

And, pornography is something that will never go away, whatever it’s legality. .

It shouldn’t have to be made illegal anyway, it should just be governed correctly.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

There should be social nets in place to stop people from having to resort to this dark path. Although, lawmakers and politicians are well known for visiting "pink salons". I wouldn't be surprised if the lack of social nets in Japan was a way to funnel young women into these places.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Im sure there is a lot of manipulation in the porn industry. You hear a lot of stories. The key is as always better education. Teach people the consequences of earning a quick buck through the porn industry. Those videos will be around forever, whether you are looking for a job or a partner, or whatever. Worst case you get trapped in a web of manipulation. There is a massive move in the porn industry towards amateur content made by willing participants on their own terms. A much better business model.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Maiko has learned that some of the people who appear in porn videos have suffered sexual violence like she did, or physical and mental abuse at home in the past. Thus, it is painful for her to hear people arguing in favor of porn by saying women choose to appear or that they are "responsible for their own actions."

I think focusing on porn is the wrong thing to do here. We need to focus on the actual problem here, shame.

This woman was raped in a country where being raped is a shameful thing. Where going to the police will likely mean she will be embarrassed and not taken seriously. Where access to councelling is almost impossible and likely also shameful.

I imagine the actual reason she turned to porn, wasn't just the money, it's probably that the directors were the only people who she felt she could be open with.

If the rapist coward who did that to her in the first place was appropriately trialed and jailed, my bet is she would've had more closure on the matter and may not have turned in that direction.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Wow! This took some time.

We were reading here in JT couple years before pandemic of cases where women signed up for a photo shooting, with no sexual intercourse agreement. Then once in the photoshoot they're forced into it coz they're told this part they didn't see in the contract says this and that. And when they went to the police for help, the cops would tell them "shou ga nai, it's contract, can't help you." Or women be threatened by the agency releasing pictures and videos to her family members.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Terrible. They really need to go after these devils that drug you and rape you.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

After much agonizing, she typed "porn" into an internet search, looking for a high-paying job as she struggled to pay her rent.

That the roots are economic are easy to see. Around most major stations there are the "job offer" signage trucks blaring music and promises of high pay, mostly directed at women.

They are looking for staff for "girls bars", hostess clubs and all the other varieties of the world of Japan's semi-legal prostitution.

That is the "gateway drug" to get them hooked and is supported by Japan Inc. by its absurdly low wages and opportunities for women and as recreation for its salaryman workforce.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Well, I believe the source of the problem is different. It all spins around MONEY in both cases.

Just because the PORN industry seems like a getting rich quick scheme with "no" consequences is what attracts girls or troubled ladies.

And in the long run, it can cause more trouble as those girls get pregnant and leave their newborn babies, also HIV and STDs are on the rise.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Not surprising. The porn industry isn't all that different from what goes on in prostitution: vulnerable, poor, weak youth, physical and mental abuse, drug abuse and addiction, and I'm sure murder as well. Yet we continue to hear euphemistic sayings like, 'the oldest profession' when it's not and never really was a profession at all. Prostitution being illegal in most countries not surprisingly runs afoul of the law but porn is a legal industry in Japan and for that it means it's been woefully underregulated for obvious reasons.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japanese companies are predatory. The porn actors should have full control of their videos and the bulk of the earnings from them.

From what is happening right now, porn actors are just "employees". On a contract and monthly payment basis. It's better to be freelancers and sell to other countries.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I think focusing on porn is the wrong thing to do here. We need to focus on the actual problem here, shame.

This woman was raped in a country where being raped is a shameful thing. Where going to the police will likely mean she will be embarrassed and not taken seriously. Where access to councelling is almost impossible and likely also shameful.

I find it hard to believe she had too much shame to go to the police or tell the guy off, but had no shame in doing porn videos that the whole world can see.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Japan moves to protect

Japan won't do a thing, if it doesn't put money in the corrupt law makers pocket.

If anything the porn industry PAYS the authorities to keep it hush hush.

Get serious, Japan helping out those in need (without some kind of monetary restitution.)

When has that EVER happened?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

looking for a high-paying job as she struggled to pay her rent.

Desperate for money: Check!

From that incident, she was blackmailed into having a yearlong sexual relationship

Alleged sexual abuse: Check!

Could the article be any more clichéd?

Maiko eventually left the industry 

Good for you. Why didn’t you do it sooner?

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

It's the shady characters pressing young girls into contracts (they don't fully comprehend) that need to be stopped. Empower the women to make more money directly from the voyeurs and cut out the middle man.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Conversations about Japan's population crisis tend mention the rising cost of living, or ideas of overwork and "hikikomori" - but few dare to confront the idea that hyper-normalised and ubiquitous sex industry might have some role to play in it.

On the very basic level of daily sexual politics I think it changes the dynamic Tokyo. Compared to other cities in the developed world, women in Japan are so so passive; uninclined to make eye contact, let alone start a conversation with male stranger. It's as if that's not the "done thing" except in those down the road where money is changing hands.

Womenomics cannot succeed when it's so easy to become a hostess but near-impossible to become a manager. Honestly, I think a large section of the male population would be terrified of a woman who is simultaneously beautiful, has an MBA degree, speaks English. It's a kind of patriarchal utopia and they don't want to change that.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It seems the two women in this article were: desperate, willing, 18 years or over and signed a legal document. If they weren’t offered this work, they would have to live under bridges, steal or return to be sexually abused by family or colleagues. Or suicide.

progressive countries like Holland and others have sex worker cooperatives. They are very good organizations and I recommend donating money to them instead of paying for sex.

Im disgusted that poor helpless women are offered a small amount of money to have sex without condoms. This should be a crime punishable by imprisonment.

interesting the one with the failed business kept running it, up to fifty men one night at one time, but became bankrupt. She should stopped her failing business straight away, then she wouldn’t have to do a second job.

I’m all for consenting sex involving mutual benefits, but I’m glad this story doesn’t involve sex-trafficking, forced prostitution and pimping.

it is time for society to listen to the cries of help from sexually abused boys and girls, as this article hints at their possible future.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

girl_in_tokyo

Interesting portrait you try to paint of two worlds of Japanese porn: one glamorous and lucrative for a small percentage and the other,

more to reality, manipulative and criminal, preying upon the weak and disadvantaged.

When it comes down to it, both are exploitive.

It’s highly doubtful there are any continuing female JAV success stories that later went into the production side in the twilight of their “careers”. If some women did get into production, then it was only to exploit other starlets coming into the industry.

Nothing to be idolized or female empowering about it.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

From what is happening right now, porn actors are just "employees". On a contract and monthly payment basis. It's better to be freelancers and sell to other countries.

Sounds like the Japanese entertainment industry in general.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Restless Today 06:20 pm JST

Interesting portrait you try to paint of two worlds of Japanese porn: one glamorous and lucrative for a small percentage and the other,

more to reality, manipulative and criminal, preying upon the weak and disadvantaged.

When it comes down to it, both are exploitive.

Have you ever known any women who do sex work?

Did you talk with them regarding how they felt about it?

Can you state with certainty that if a woman does not feel exploited, that she nevertheless IS exploited? Do you get to decide from your outside POV that yes, that woman IS exploited, no matter how she personally feels about it?

Have you ever considered that sexual autonomy means that women can chose do sex work of their own volition? And that many women actively do make that choice?

It’s highly doubtful there are any continuing female JAV success stories that later went into the production side in the twilight of their “careers”. If some women did get into production, then it was only to exploit other starlets coming into the industry.

I don't think you know much about the porn industry.

Nothing to be idolized or female empowering about it.

Do you mean idealized? I don't know anyone who idolizes or idealizes sex work, and that includes sex workers themselves. But any woman who feels she is absolutely free to chose her own path without shame or coercion, is by definition, empowered. In this case, empowered to make her own decisions regardless of what anyone else may think of those decisions.

In case anyone here is surprised, yes, this feminist is sex positive and supportive of women who make the choice to do sex work regardless of my own personal view of sex work which is actually overwhelmingly negative. But at the same time, I also know my view is mine; other women don't feel about things the way I do; and I don't assume my view is the only correct one or is right for everyone.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

This legislation way overdue.

Further revelations and discussions about the reality of the porn industry and the content of porn videos will make it even more clear regarding the harmful effects they have on influencing impressionable young men to grow up to become sick men.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

When it comes down to it, both are exploitive.

It’s highly doubtful there are any continuing female JAV success stories that later went into the production side 

@Restless girl_in_tokyo knows exactly what she's talking about here. Probably better to listen to people who are familiar with the subject than to hang on to tropes about exploitation. Most jobs are exploitation, whether they involve sex or not. JAV actresses that have gone into production are easy enough to confirm with a quick Google search.

There are two sides to the business (at least). The good players are quick to call out the bad players. By painting the whole business with one brush, you are providing cover for the latter and insulting the former.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

girl_in_tokyo

Appreciate your response and clarification of your opinions of the sex “industry” in Japan. Understand it can be about exercising a choice to participate when one is of a legal, adult age and may choose involvemnet without ANY form of coercion.

However, the story here points out there are also victims of the same “industry”, manipulated into increasingly compromising situations and young people in Japan need protection from such manipulation and predation.

The later commantateer regarded these concerns as unnecessary to “hang on to tropes about exploitation”. Doesn’t sound like the victims chronicled in this story regard their real encounters with manipulation and sexual exploitation as mere ‘tropes’.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

RestlessToday 03:01 pm JST

Understand it can be about exercising a choice to participate when one is of a legal, adult age and may choose involvemnet without ANY form of coercion.

However, the story here points out there are also victims of the same “industry”, manipulated into increasingly compromising situations and young people in Japan need protection from such manipulation and predation.

100%, yes.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I’ve been following this story/law revision since it suddenly popped up. Extra protection from shady contracts is great but the examples of exploiting women in porn is really wild.

lots of legit porn stars, men and women have chimed in on it and how safe the industry is for them. Their are contracts, agency negotiations, a whole separate organization that checks the contract per film so nothing violates a law or is dangerous, casting, meetings, another round of contract negotiations, and reviews, rehearsals etc. before shooting. The proper porn industry knows they make a lot more money being legit than shady.

I get wanting to protect people I do. But these ladies need to go to the dang POLICE. This wasn’t the porn industry this was some dude taking advantage of you. Anyone with a camera can say they are a director. And do.

These ladies got themselves involved with suspicious groups with no assurances or contracts. Meanwhile the actual porn industry doesn’t do this stuff without contracts, reviews, management , and more. It’s a legit business not some dude offering pocket change to record you off the street.

it’s hard but these ladies simply got scammed and taken advantage of, they were not likely apart of the actual industry. You gotta check who you work for no matter who they are or what industry it is

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The bill, proposed by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, allows people who agree to appear in pornographic content to terminate their contracts, and if so, the video vendors are obliged to recover the products and delete the footage.

I really do not like this. If you quietly are wishing for the porn industry to die a "natural death" from over-regulation, then you are at least self-consistent. But if we are going to say porn is a legit business, this law overly favors the actress.

In this, this turns every contract with a porn actress into a high stakes lottery for the production company. Every time a woman suddenly regrets her choice, the company suffers a huge loss as they not only have to lose out on all future profits, but obliged to recover the products (and presumably they have to refund the distributors and retailers for taking the products back). By recovering products, does that oblige them to recall it from the consumers, or just the wholesalers?

In the worst case, this could easily lead to more violence against women, as you've just created a clear incentive for the production company to protect their profits by threatening or even just "disposing" of the women. The more you make them lose, the more you incentivize this.

"I was a victim, too," Natsu thought, realizing that what she had taken for granted was actually sexual exploitation. This came after her best friend, who had also worked as a porn actor, committed suicide.

You didn't "realize" something, more than you are brainwashed into believing you were hurt. According to the story, she was paid 20000 yen for what sounds like 1-2 hours of work. If she had to get this money with "ordinary" arubaito she would have to work for about 20 hours (taking 1000 yen / hour). Under that circumstance, taking the 20000 is not an unreasonable choice - it was a perfectly legit civil law labor transaction. And since you had just a labor contract, of course you don't get proceeds from the video sales.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites