Thanks to the internet, Japanese AV which once was the domain for men and men only now sees an ever-growing number of females amongst its audience. Even events featuring handsome AV actors require extra security due to the high number of unannounced and very unexpected female fans. Now more than ever production companies are taking note of female fans and are starting hone in on their desires. However, how do women fare when working in this industry?
It goes almost without saying that the AV industry is mainly populated by men. We asked Bon Andou, a veteran director with 15 years of experience under her belt about the challenges of working in the Japanese adult industry as a woman. She replied right away in between bouts of laughter telling us how everything was surprising by-the-books. Let's hear what else she has to say.
Wotopi: Andou-san, how did you get started in AV?
Bon Andou: It started when I first came to Tokyo when I was 25. I felt like I had to get a job and I got one! For awhile I was working in the accounting department of an adult wholesale video company. While working there, I became interested in production and thankfully was provided the chance to interview for a production company. They hired me as an assistant director. That company was run by Haruki Yukimura, a practitioner of traditional Japanese rope bondage. This was where my captivation of the Japanese world of S&M manifested itself. I was an AD for a year before becoming a producer for the next 5. After that I started directing on my own. The regular film world generally sees directors who first were ADs where they learned the tools of the trade. What's very common though in the AV world is for people in the production company itself to start directing.
WO: Is there a reason you picked such an androgynous name?
BA: I went with my name because I didn't want to potentially frighten away any male viewers who would be worried about not being able to cum because the director wasn't a man. Now I take pride in the fact that I work on some shoots that only have women on staff.
WO: Are there more women on staff now?
BA: There sure are. There's female producers, directors, assistant directors, makeup staff, and more. One of the reasons why is due to the cleanliness of the Japanese adult video industry. There are more production companies now than ever and the market is very fierce. One title may not sell as well as a singular release did in the past so many more titles are being pushed out, but they're all done with a much higher level of professionalism on the set.
By Yumi Kihara
(Translator's note: we actually translated an even longer interview with Bon Andou some months back about her genre of choice: S&M. This is an immense interview about some of the rather unique titles she has directed in a genre that's still dominated almost entirely by male directors. Sometime after today's interview has run its course, we'll put up that interview which is more S&M-focused so please stay tuned.)
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