Japanese photographer Kishin Shinoyama has died at the age of 83. As regular readers will know, Shinoyama is regarded as the king of the hair nude (full-frontal nude), and is largely responsible for establishing it as a publishing genre in the early 1990s with his photo books of Rie Miyazawa (Santa Fe) and Kanoko Higuchi (Water Fruit), though Shinoyama and others had already done nudes in the previous decade (notably, a lovely shoot with Aki Mizusawa). Others quickly dropped their clothes in front of the camera (not least, Yoko Shimada and Saki Takaoka), hoping to replicate Miyazawa ...

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The photo book market in Japan can sometimes seem like a tame one. Sure, we harp on about the latest semi-nude shoots featuring various music idols, actresses, models, and so on, but, as lovely those are, we are ultimately making hay out of thin material. Gone are the glory days of the photo book when we could be really surprised by a provocative new release. We are talking about, of course, the "hair nude" full-frontal shoot. Back in the 1990s, when the hair nude was at its peak, it was popular for established stars or even up-and-coming models. Far from a last resort for a faded star or ...

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We recently wrote about AKB48 idol Mion Mukaichi's somewhat surprising decision to do a semi-nude photo book while still a member of the supergroup. As we mentioned in our post, most music idols wait until graduating before posing semi-nude or nude. And in fact, they are often forced to do something like that to build any sort of career in a crowded marketplace. A case in point is the ravishing Satomi Kaneko, who carved out a name for herself as a provocative, sensual model after a brief stint in AKB48 in 2007. She started doing gravure in 2014 after an acting role in a sexploitation movie ...

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Japanese television is a strange place: a world of shoddily acted dramas and asinine variety shows, where the aim seems to be seeing how many minor celebrities can be squeezed into a single airing, and where everything seems to come down to food and guests extolling how delicious a dish is. And then there are the shows about breasts. Tamori Club, the late-night TV Asahi show whose decades-long run recently ended, aired an episode in March in which the male guests ogled a woman naked from the waist up except for two carefully positioned leaves over her breasts. Of course, they tried to blow ...

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Last month, we wrote about the second photo book by the ravishing Amazonian beauty that is Fumika. As in her previous shoots, the former Miss Japan finalist and University of Tokyo alumni was showing off plenty of her athletic legs and svelte buttocks, while apparently hiding her actual breasts and nipples despite some very wet clothing in some of the shots. We are pleased to reveal that Fumika has also revealed: the photo book is a proper nude shoot, including full-frontal nudity. It's a hair nude, then, though you can't actually see any bush. Whether from very careful grooming or ...

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As we were in a bookstore recently perusing the crowded lineup of idol photo books released in the autumn to catch the end-of-year season, we found ourselves returning again and again to the stunning new offering from Yuka Someya. As regular readers will know, Someya has featured multiple times on this blog. She has recently established herself as the queen of the hair nude -- the full-frontal nude shoot that is usually allowed in spite of Japan's nominal legal ban on showing genitalia, including bush -- with several such shoots. Someya is now aged 30 and as sultry and curvy as ever. She ...

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Back in May, we reported on the arrests of the head of Japanese secondhand book store chain Mandarake and four of its employees over the sale of sexually explicit old photo books, which the chain apparently sold online and at two of its stores. Though "hair nude" photo books with full-frontal nudity have been produced and sold by mainstream publishers for decades, the books in question here were so-called "vinyl books," which are older and more obscure -- and less regulated. They constitute a kind of gray zone in terms of adult publications in Japan: hair nude books are "celebrity books" or ...

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The Japanese actress Yoko Shimada (島田陽子) has died, aged 69, from complications of colorectal cancer. She was best known internationally for her English-speaking role in the miniseries Shogun from 1980, adapted from the James Clavell bestseller. Shimada rose to fame in Japan in the 1970s as an actress and singer, and then capitalized on her role in Shogun and became a star in Japan (though more international roles were few and fair between). But it all came crashing down in the late 1980s, when an affair with the musician Yuya Uchida was exposed by the tabloids and all her work ...

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People have arrested the CEO of famous Japanese secondhand book store chain Mandarake as well as four employees in connection with the sale of obscene material. Best known for manga but also offering collectibles, doujinshi, and anime toys, Mandarake was selling so-called "vinyl books," a term referring to pornographic photo books from the 1970s and 1980s that showed genitalia. (The "vinyl" part means the plastic that was used to cover the books.) As regular readers will know, Japan's strange obscenity laws mean it is nominally illegal to show actual genitalia, hence adult video is ...

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One of the regular themes of this blog is the after-lives of gravure idols, models, adult video performers, and so on. What happens after they retire? What can do they do after their time -- often only brief -- in the limelight? We had Reiko Nagaoka (永岡怜子) on our radar for a while in this regard, because she presents an interesting example. And then her story took an intriguing twist recently and we felt it was time to share. She first worked in gravure in the 2010s under a different name: Una Shirakawa (白川卯奈). Shen then switched to Reiko Nagaoka in around 2016, ...

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