10,000 Bullets   Exploring the world of Cinema from the Arthouse to the Grindhouse™

JAV (DVD RoundUp) 
Written by: on January 5th, 2009

Japanese Adult Video (‘JAV’) is adult video from Japan.  There are several significant factors that make this product much different from typical Western product.

The most obvious difference is the censoring, done by digital mosaic.  It is against [Japanese] law to show genitals, so all legal DVD’s available in Japan are censored.  Recently an independent company pushed the envelope with a thin mosaic which is becoming the industry standard.

The censorship board is comparable to the MPAA in the U.S.  It is a self-governing industry board (Japan Software Morality Association, aka “Sof-Rin”), whose primary purpose is to avoid government intervention in censorship oversight.  Those companies that adhere to the standards of this board are the ‘pro’ studios, those that don’t are the ‘indies’.

The stars of JAV are the women, called ‘AV idols’, and they typically start in magazine spreads, sometimes as bikini only models, then produce their early videos for the large pro companies like Alice Japan, Kuki and TMA.  After some exposure, they drift towards the indies with their more extreme content and lower production values.  As with any good ‘B’ movie, low production values can be overcome with talent, ambition, and increased artistic control.

The censor mosaic creates several unique dynamics.  Most importantly, directors cannot rely upon graphic inserts as their American counterparts, so they use lots of long shots.  They also ‘cover all the bases’, meaning there is considerable foreplay: kissing, topless, first base, second base, etc.  Also, since the penetration is obscured, many of the sex scenes are simulated.  Some of the older titles that have been remastered with the new standard mosaic reveal the fakery.  Newer product designed for foreign consumption (via internet sales), may assume no censorship and pattern themselves after U.S. product (ugh!).

Another prominent aspect of the industry is breast augmentation.  Most of the current AV idols have had varying degrees of enhancement.  Often the silicone implants are placed under the chest muscle, inserted through the under arm.  The implants are only partially filled, leaving them pliable.  In contrast, US implants are saline, completely filled to minimize rippling but rock hard, and insertion in the breast leaves inevitable scarring.  There are some natural breast AV stars, but often it is debatable.  Even women with relatively small breasts may have had some mild enhancement.

The DVD’s:

Here are a few examples of currently available DVD’s which illustrate differences in style and content.  They can be located by an internet search on the product code.  All present high quality video and are 4:3 NTSC Region 0.  All are in Japanese with no language or subtitle options.

Kyoko Ayana was a top AV star during her career, she has large natural breasts (confirmed), and a winning personality.  She was very shy in her early films for Alice Japan, and seems very innocent and natural.  The Kuki scenes show more inventiveness, including  ‘costume play’ scenarios, and a bit where she comes down from outer space to be a sex doll.  Both DVD’s are ‘best of’ compilations featuring sex scenes from various films circa 2001 and 2002 remastered with new standard mosaic.

PDV042 Alice Pink File – Kyoko Ayana (120 min)
KK114 – Kuki Pink File – Kyoko Ayana (120 min)

Anna Ohura is still one of the best known AV idols worldwide, and she claimed to have the largest natural breasts in the JAV industry.  Her early releases were rather demure much as Kyoko Ayana’s, but this TMA material includes bondage wear, and she seems distressed throughout, giving the presentation a harder edge.  The DVD is a ‘best of’ compilation featuring sex scenes from various films circa 2003 remastered with new standard mosaic.

T15002 – Kyonyu Fetish Angle — Anna Ohura (120 min)

One of the top ‘indie’ companies, Soft On Demand had a huge hit with Zenra Ballet (‘Nude Ballet’), which inspired a whole Zenra series.  The primary conceit here is to find women that have mastered a particular discipline and introduce them to the AV world.  A prime example is Judo practitioner Towa Mitsui.  Early scenes feature a girl on-girl match which is very tame and incomprehensible due to the constant zooms on panty shots.  The best part of the video is a strip-Judo contest.  Towa faces a number of male contestants in quick succession and with each fall she gets a breather, but must also shed an article of clothing.  The objective of the men is simply to cop a feel.  This is a hilarious sequence that gets funnier the more it progresses (about 20 minutes total).  There are only two overt sex scenes: a sex match and a sex massage.  The shooting style is ‘let the camera roll’ with minimal edits that gives it a realistic feel.  This release maintains a patina of innocence and lives up to the original concept.

The follow up with Yumi Motoki is slicker, sleazier, and has lots more sex.  It also looks like a Western production with fast inter-cuts and endless tight close ups on the censored action.  While there are a few seconds devoted to nude exercising and a handful of judo tosses, this is in every other way a typical porn film.  The DVD’s both display large mosaic censor.

SDMS252 – Zenra Judo — Towa Mitsui (110 min) NTSC Region 0, 4:3
SDMS427 – Zenra Judo — Yumi Motoki (120 min) NTSC Region 0, 4:3

Four of these five films transcend the standards of most Western pornography, the other one is completely worthless in it’s censored state.  There are various degrees of fetish themes available including bondage, S&M, lesbian, facials, rape, anal, group, etc.  The four recommended DVD’s are quite tame in comparison.  There are lots of hazards to navigate, but there are gems in the rough to be found in the JAV genre.

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