Mangochin's Review: Kaho Shibuya - "The Japanese Porn Industry: Unmasked"

Published : April 6th, 2023 Written by Mangochin

Hello all, 

Here's another book review. And this time, it'll be more accessible for everyone! That being, because there's an English copy available. Kaho Shibuya recently launched the English version of her long awaited 'Everything Girls should know about the AV industry' which has been slightly adjusted for the Western market. In Kaho's forward, she explains that originally the intent was towards Japanese girls, but due to the high requests from the English communities (male), she set path on for a translation of her book. Because of the demographic change, she also adds a bit more details that weren't in the original to appease fans.

I originally bought the JP copy, but in order to give a proper review article, felt that reading the English version was also necessary. Now... Kaho sought to translate her book in 2021... normally translations will come out after a year... so what took so long? People also were wondering why Kaho didn't just translate it herself as she's fluent?

My presumption is Kaho is busy, and she has things she wants to do. In terms of money,  it's more worth it to her to have someone else do it... But this comes at a price... The price being that, you are at the hands (somewhat) of the translator. Kaho chose Bentobooks, and her translator, Tony Gonzales, is a Japanese-English translator with an... interesting record. Mostly doing textbooks, and other odd things- like Math girls, along with some IT textbooks.... all in all, I can't help but feel this was a bad fit. The same sentiment is seen across other reviewers of this book, but I'll talk more about it later.

If you read the Japanese version, Kaho is succinct in giving details, exactly like you'd expect of a guide. She would just give facts and maybe tell analogies, but nothing else. 

So... Into the book we go. As a 'guide', Kaho basically covers everything from why girls will join the industry, to pay, the entering of the industry, what it was like when her parents learned of her profession, and of course her own anecdotes mirroring this. She heavily discussed the issues of it, from both bad actors within the industry, as well as how men perceived her afterwards. She writes, "-but they had a different light in their eyes when they brought up a career as an "adult film model," and I knew that was a path from which there was no return. While I was honestly intrigued, imagining my future as a porn star made my legs turn to jelly." For those who know Kaho, this will seem out of character for her. And this comes to the two big differences between the books, which will be mentioned again later.


The big difference asides from tone for voice, was the missing documents. I get that It's complicated to translate a photograph of a document, especially when its low quality, at an angle, and you have to justify it to an English audience.... It's arguably a lot more effort, but you then are losing some of the story. I added an excerpt of a document that Kaho had put in regarding what actresses are OK with shooting. In the Japanese version, Kaho also, goes into depth not only regarding paystubs but the number of videos she did, the theoretical monetary value and putting into context the type of video it is (featured vs non)... and while this is explained in the English version, it doesn't do the book justice. Kaho does say, to take the numbers with a grain of salt as it varies depending on when you debut, and there are a lot of factors- if you already have a following, your body image, etc.

Kaho explains, "Freelance actress Ami Kasai posted on Instagram with the caption "Actress with almost no NG". Indeed, t[here's a lot of OKs!

This is a normal NG sheet which actresses will fill out before doing any sort of work, so that everyone understands the comfort zones. Among the list includes- fellatio, anal, bukakke, gokkun, masturbation, squirt, lesbian, 


Kaho does stress the importance of using talent agencies... for better or for worse, they are the gatekeepers to having a consistent career. This is because they act as a guarantor for studios who don't know if or when an actress might disappear, but they take a huge sum. Now, while  this is supposed to be a review, I do not want to spoil all of the details, so if this was enough to interest you, I'd recommend you consider checking it out. This being said, I did promise to talk about the translations. There was allegedly (not confirmed by any sources at ZENRA), a dispute between Kaho and the translator/editors, which would explain the change in tone.

Speaking of translations... There seems to be  a website which has translations... it also has AV content...  And It also seems that website was mentioned in Kaho's book in both versions...

"However, among all the [illegal] uploads [of JAV], there is ZENRA, a site which adds suibtitles to AV and legally broadcasts it to the world" (Translation done by ZENRA via Twitter).

Kaho continues, saying that ZENRA informed her that they were legally licensed by the studios, in which case the studios were at fault for illegally distributing/providing licenses for distribution and to let her know of any other films that were licensed illegally.

 

The funny thing about translations is, the translators are given the freedom to be creative to keep the intentions of the author's words/creativity to match. If the original language has a cool anagram for the name of a character, translators will try and make an equivalent in the language the book is being transferred to. I did not feel that from this book. They felt that Kaho should have a 'Kawaii' voice, and thus tried writing it like that, and Kaho was upset. This led to delays, and a compromise to the final book.I don't know what the intermediary looked like, but I think the final version is in of itself evidence.


Now, for those who are unaware, Kaho retired in 2018, with the primary focus of going back to chasing/living her otaku dreams. She started streaming, and as many of you probably know, has collaborations with others on anime and whatnot. While her book has exposed parts of the industry, (in which there is supposed to be a sequel coming out sometime soon- in Japanese), Kaho has also continued the path of trying to live a double life... Wanting to keep her name, but not acknowledging the elephant in the room. Suing companies for defamation regarding leaks... And also talking badly about other actresses for doing certain commercials.

So my opinion on the book? I think it's a thorough deep dive into the industry- able to answer quite a number of generic questions people may have, and could provide insight to those less knowledgeable either about the industry itself, or Kaho's past... That being said, I think the English version is a disappointment in comparison. I'd give this book an 8/10 for the English version, and 9/10 for the Japanese version. The content provided is no doubt classes beyond others in terms of general knowledge, but at the end of the day, it's written by someone who wants to have cake and eat it too.

Hope you enjoyed and let me know your thoughts in the comments!
 

Comments


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Supermanko 5 months ago
Best bet is to read the 'Shinjuku Swan' manga, which is a lot more deep and detailed into that world. (Avoid the movies as it's nothing in comparison)
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Jackfromdownunder 1 year ago
Ever since I saw some interviews with Shibuya, she comes across as someone to avoid.
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Shinmai 1 year ago
I guess a little different cause I think she's still active but I found the interviews that Arisa Hanyu with that youtuber "Dark side of Japan Yuki" really interesting as to how the industry works
1 0
ZENRA 1 year ago

We are actively looking for someone who can write blog summaries of JAV-related YouTube happenings. Just saying. ;)

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ZENRA 1 year ago

We are actively looking for someone who can write blog summaries of JAV-related YouTube happenings. Just saying. ;)

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Mangochin 1 year ago

Yeah, I saw that it's existed... but honestly there's so many podcasts/YT channels (both active and defunct), that I decided to no longer keep up with them. Based off of all the memoirs, interviews, etc. everyone has a different experience and outlook of things. Their perception of life is just a piece to the puzzle that is reality.

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drk 1 year ago
re: translation delay, I watched her stream once or twice and she was ranting about pushing back on the publisher, because they wanted to make the English translation more 'kawaii' or smth to that extent.

A year ago, I'd have bought it, today probably wouldn't contribute much to my understanding of the industry and I'm not interested in Kaho Shibuya, so I think I'll pass.
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ZENRA 1 year ago

I'd buy it so publishers can see more demand for JAV-related books translated to English. Even if the translation may not be ideal for some, it's still an interesting memoir and worth a read.

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Mangochin 1 year ago

That's what I've heard but, as I don't follow her, I had no confirmation, but that's what was claimed (which is why I put alleged)

And that's fair... it don't think it really contributed anything for me, more so solidified my information...but that's also because I have close contacts. Overall, I think everyone could learn something from it, but whether or not they think it's of value is completely subjective. I'll be posting some other reviews of books as well which you may or may not find more interesting.

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