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“Anyone who tries it will be immediately recognisable and could rule out ever having a normal life.” Though a few AV stars (mostly female) have found success as TV presenters or talking-head personalities, “Shimiken’s concerns do point to real issues regarding social stigma in Japan,” says Kumiko Endo, an adjunct professor of religion at New York State’s Hofstra University.
“There are definite roadblocks for former AV actors who want to transition into the mainstream.” Yujiro Enoki, the director of the documentary The Other Side of the Sex, goes further, warning that great fame can bring great shame.
Even in the US, most aspiring men drop out when faced with the realities of this work.
“We’re not talking about splitting firewood here, but it is very physically demanding,” says Kevin O’Neal, a former porn actor and current agent at Adult Talent Managers in Los Angeles.
“Once you’ve become an AV star, it becomes hard to get a normal job,” he says.
“And it can only become worse if you try to conceal your past.
He hasn’t taken a holiday in seven years – too busy keeping it up to stop an estimated bn industry from going limp.
The only problem: he’s an endangered species One of only 70 male actors in a business churning out thousands of videos a year – and while he keeps coming, the reinforcements don’t.“It’s a physically demanding job and if they run out of juice, it’s not good.” AV director Michiru Ayashiyama worries that this already overtaxed group of performers will not only tire out, but age from relevance.“I sincerely hope the younger pool increases,” he says, “because soon these actors are going to get old.Their experience will go up, but their strength will go down.” And so Shimiken arrives at Japan’s largest porn expo bearing a nation’s libido on his shoulders.A few months ago, in a fit of on-set fatigue, Shimiken went public with his feelings about the stresses of being one of the few male talents in Japanese adult video.“In this industry there are only 70 male porn stars to 10,000 women.