The Japanese sex film, or adult video (AV), industry is big business. It’s said that around 20,000 videos are released annually and some Japanese AV actresses have achieved celebrity status even outside of Japan.
And it’s not just demand for Japanese skin flicks that’s thriving.
According to nonfiction writer Atsuhiko Nakamura, who has published several books based on interviews with AV actresses, the number of Japanese women seeking work in the adult video industry has increased dramatically over the past decade, with some 6000 girls making their debut every year.
Atsuhiko Nakamura has interviewed over 500 AV actresses and made headlines in Japan for casting light on the dark side of the AV industry with his bestselling book, “Namae no nai Onna-tachi” (“The Nameless Women”).
“Actresses come and go every day and it’s likely that there are about that many  women in the industry at all times,” explained Nakamura during a recent investigative television program.
“Until the late-90s, a lot of people said they wouldn’t appear in an AV even if they were paid ten million yen (about US $128,000), but that rapidly changed over the decade and now normal girls are rushing for a chance to make it into any kind of production.”
While there were always spots open for amateurs in the 90s, now it’s said only 15 out of 100 aspiring actresses can get a role and the rest are turned away at the door. It’s just like applying for a part-time job at a convenience store.”
While the adult video industry is known for being recession-proof, Nakamura points out that not all applicants are in it for the money: “One girl had been working for a major bank for one or two years and had begun to feel unsure if it was the right career choice for her. She likes sex and realized she could be an AV actress, and told me she was really happy with her career change.”
And, despite the nature of the work, a strong academic or educational background is valued by producers when trying to sift through so many applicants. “Girls from top-tier colleges are often chosen over those who have a weak academic background,” spoke Nakamura. “Those with credentials and a job are also more likely to make the cut, especially teachers and nurses.”
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“Most amateur contracts stipulate a set compensation rate for three videos, two pair and one solo. The rates range from 150,000 ($1917) to 200,000 yen ($2556), 250,000 ($3195) and 300,000 yen ($3834), depending on the applicant’s experience and background.”
However, it seems the 150,000 yen rate makes up 60-70% of contracts and recently, some girls are told that due to low demand they’re only needed for one video and can only be paid half the normal rate, leaving them with a take-home of less than 30,000 yen ($383).
If you’re interested in getting a closer look at the AV industry, “Namae no nai Onnna-tachi” was recently made into a film with the English title “Love & Loathing & Lulu & Ayano.” Check the trailer below：