Nanami Kawakami's Retirement Tribute- Part 1 by Mangochin

Published : August 21st, 2021 Written by Mangochin

Earlier this year, it was mentioned that Nanami Kawakami would be retiring. Fortunately for fans, she has given a notice a year in advance, similar to Abe Mikako who has also recently announced retirement. As a fan, it’s always a mixed bag of watching someone go, but in the end, all I can say is I’m really happy for her. For most fans, this will be the “final” goodbye as she will continue her career in mainstream media (i.e. non-AV). As a result, I will highlight her career as well as include a translated interview (by me) from XCity. This is the first post of a multi-part tribute to Nanami's efforts. I hope you all enjoy it, and if you aren't fans of her, at least appreciate what she has done for the industry.  I will abbreviate XCity as 'XC' and Nanami as 'NK' I hope you enjoy! Please let me know if you'd like more posts like this in the future! Before I start however, here's the aforementioned post regarding her retirement. It shows the dates for her shows as a sendoff, if you happen to be in Japan, but assuming you are reading this, I assume you are not. 

Retirement from AV in January of 2022, Retirement from Stripping in February of 2022 (dates/locations in the pictures)

Now while many probably wish to see some video footage, I am unable to provide that, however there are clips both on Nanami's official page and on YouTube which I will be posting later in the article. Now let's see the interview :)

 

XCity (XC): You have so many activities that I’m not sure where to begin (laughs).

Nanami Kawakami (NK): I don’t know either (laughs)

XC: You debuted with Alice Japan in January 2012, but didn’t have an interest in doing AV right?

NK: Yes that’s right

XC: I heard that you wanted to be famous in the entertainment industry or something?

NK: Yes, that’s right. I wanted to be famous (laughs)

XC: So, at what point did you decide to give AV a try?

NK: I didn’t really think about it until my later years. Anyways, I felt the desire to be needed, so even though I didn’t want to do AV, I felt like it was calling. A fan had told me “thank you for taking off your clothes” and I didn’t know what to say. At the time, I thought “huh? huh!?”, but with that, I thought I should do my best to produce good works for people who wanted to see/support me.

Nanami at a Fan Signing event (2020)

XC: So you didn’t want to do it, but you thought it was your way of repaying fans?

NK: The reason I didn’t want to do porn was because when I was little, I was sexually repressed. I had this strong feeling that it wasn’t something I should be showing, so I felt guilty.

But fans would come to my events and say, “Thank you”, so I thought that maybe I’m doing a great job, and be proud of my works. But, half a year after my debut, my parents found out…

I think that both the AV and stripper industries are necessary in the world. There’s a saying, that light cannot exist without dark, a world of yin and yang. Thus, I believe that these industries are essential, and I’m glad I was able to be part of it, and have no regrets.

When my parents found out, they said, “What are you doing? Hurry and come back home right now!” But, because I felt that I wasn’t doing anything wrong, I cut off connections with my parents for a while (we are still in contact). As a result of breaking connections, I had no choice but to work as hard as I could.

That’s the point where I decided that I was going to become a successful AV actress. I loved the act of sex, but got nervous and didn’t feel comfortable having sex on set. But after shooting for a film by Attackers, I was hooked.

 

Nanami's Attacker's debut

XC: Your Attackers debut wasn’t until 2015 wasn’t it.

NK: Actually, 2015 was the year I wanted to quit AV.

XC: What? So 3 years after your debut, you wanted to try your best? What was it like before that?

NK: I was doing it because I wanted to. I was struggling, and could only think about how to sell. I wanted to sell.

XC: So even though you didn’t like it, you wanted to sell it?

NK: I wanted to be famous (laughs). I thought it would be impossible because I couldn’t sell as an AV actress even after 3 years.

XC: You couldn’t sell well? I thought you were doing quite well?...

NK: That’s what everyone told me, but I had high expectations for myself.

I didn’t look like an AV actress… I didn’t have the boobs, I had a complex about my appearance. So when I thought I had reached the end of my career, “Attackers” offered me a role, which was a full on drama. It was a dark plot, which I really got into. Also, Ebisu Muscats was a big help.

Ebisu Muscats off-shot picture from Digital Noise Album (2020)

XC: You started Ebisu Muscats in 2015 as well right?

NK: Yes that’s right.  In 2015 there was Ebisu Muscats, Attackers, Idea Pocket, Alice Japan, and my strip debut.

When I said “I’m quitting”, I was told that “it’s your last time, so you should try different things” so I decided that if someone wanted me to do something, I would do it.

XC: In 2015, you stated in your blog that it was a year of change, and that you would challenge yourself. Was that part of it?

NK: I couldn’t come up with anything else, so I decided that I should do whatever I want to do.

XC: At that time you also said “I have a concept of Nanami Kawakami, but there’s still a gap”.

NK: In my mind, I had this ideal “form” but it was extremely rigid. I wanted to be an idol like Yuma Asami or Akiho Yoshizawa.

Yuma Asami (Right) and Akiho Yoshizawa (Left)

XC: Those two have very different personalities and appearances, but I think you are still an idol (TL: Star Idol was direct translation, but felt this made more sense). In your mind, you felt like you weren’t as good as either of them?

NK: Yes, I’m naïve (laughs). But because of that, I was put next to Kirara (Asuka) in Ebisu Muscats, and learned that naivete was one of my strengths. I started to use that to my advantage, and with a good drama series fit, my reputation and fans started to increase. I had a lot of fun, and started doing movies in 2015. When the film “Make-up Room” won the Grand Prix Award, I thought, “Huh? Can I still make it?”. The director and producers told me that I had talent for acting, and started receiving a lot of expectations from both fans, and people around me.

Because I was invested in so many things, I expected to fail, but everyone pushed me. I was shooting movies, stripping, and wanted to be happy in my personal life. If you are too greedy, it doesn’t end so well though.

XC: What do you mean by that?

NK: Well, my health wasn’t that great, and I didn’t feel well, and I was dropped as vice-captain in Ebisu Muscats, so things started to go south. 2016 was a really good year, but I started wondering what I should be doing. The AV works and the films for work were doing well, but…

XC: What happened in your private life?

NK: I had a partner during that time but, I had hurt them too much, and knew the relationship wouldn’t last.

XC: You were too busy to give your partner any attention?

NK: My mental state wasn’t that bad though. After I was removed from vice-captain, I felt like I shouldn’t go out on stage. My confidence was sort of strange at the time, I felt like a Jack-knife (laughs). (TL: Jack-knife refers to an aggressive personality)

XC: I guess you were pretty sharp then (laughs).

NK: Yeah. Even the members in Ebisu Muscats said I was hard to talk to.

XC: Did you get that from your confidence?

NK: The agency I worked for beforehand was extremely energetic. When I joined Ebisu Muscats, I was like “Come at me!” (laughs). That’s why I was on edge when I was removed from vice-captain. Once it  was removed, I was a bit “duller”, but people kept on giving me words of encouragement, so I worked really hard. Thanks to that, I was able to appear in “The Naked Director”.

XC: So you made up your mind and thought you’d try and make it in the world of acting?

NK: That’s right.

XC: While doing Ebisu Muscats, you said you sometimes felt like they were being stupid, but what types of complaints did you have?

NK: I had issues with the producer of Ebisu Muscats, with him saying that my ideals were too big, and that I was putting it on members.  He told me that “If you don’t like the way we’re doing things now, you can quit”, but I had never said I had intentions of quitting. I said I was angry and wanted to make my thoughts clear.

XC: What types of changes would you make?

NK: Fans would be happy if we were able to do live performances, and that we should make our goals clear. I was told “It’s okay to be told what to do”, which was their way of saying “do what you’re told”. The show has been built off of conflict between members, and competition. Continuing is still difficult, and I never got a response. I still feel frustrated and feel like I have to feel frustrated.  

Ebisu Muscats's Variety Show (2015)

XC: It’s a completely different world from AV, isn’t it? Were you able to change their minds?

NK: I wasn’t able to at all. Recently, the producer said “You have acting capabilities, so you should own that and ‘challenge’ the muscats” but I can’t lie, and can only do it if there was a role I played in a film already. People say “You have to create a role” but I can’t, nor do I want to (laughs).

XC: So are you and Mr. McCoy (the producer) still fighting?

NK: Yes, it’s been 5 years and nothing has changed. I like him, and he has helped me. I love doing variety, and it’s like a dream right in front of me, but it’s also hard at the same time. I don’t want to commit to saying I want to do variety in the future (laughs).

XC: Muscats doesn’t have a script right?

NK: There is no script. No instructions at all. That’s why I’m being trained, and continue to follow the producer’s directions.

XC: So there’s also stripping, which you seem to have an attachment to.

NK: I was able to love the AV industry because I saw the strip industry. I didn’t really get into AV until I had started.

In the stripping industry, you have to perform live, with other dancers everyday, daily. One time, I saw someone get injured on stage, and had to take the next day off. The junior dancers took turns playing her role, and I felt a sense of accomplishment after completing 100 performances of 1.5 hours each. I was amazed and gained appreciation for those who did it all year round. After I was taken to see a striptease after my porn debut, I had nothing but bad images towards it and wondered if I’d ever have to go that far.

Nanami Kawakami at Asakusa Rock Theater

When I planned on retiring in 2015, the president of the Asakusa Rock Theater asked me to help, and said “I want to change the image of the industry, by having the first active porn star to perform in a big show”. After that, I experienced the heat of the audience, the feeling of being on stage, and fell in love. (At the time, stripping was seen as a place for fallen pornstars etc.)

XC: You were the first active pornstar to strip there right?

NK: Yeah that’s right. After that, Mayu Minami and Ai Uehara became main performers, and other active actresses started to perform. Seeing the way of life of women living ‘underground’ had changed my perspective on life and I wanted to see everything. I started performing 100 shows a year, and began to think that there might be a hidden gem like that in the adult film industry, so I began talking to AV directors, which had changed my mind.

Asakusa Rockza's YT channel, featuring past performance footage and teasers for her upcoming ones.

XC: Your retirement from the industry is also your last strip performance, in February 2022. Is this also your way of giving back?

NK: Of course. I don’t want to quit stripping, but I have to in order to take the next stage. So I’m retiring as an AV actress and stripper as of February 2022’s performance. The industry doesn’t look to feed off of woman, but instead tries to keep them afloat, which I think is wonderful.

Teaser Promo for Asakusa Rock Theater's goods along with Nanami's #PeaceRockLove Tour

XC: In 2017, you wrote that you want to aim for your 10 year anniversary. 2022 will be exactly the 10th anniversary. Did you actually plan on retiring back then?

NK: Before COVID, I was thinking about sticking around for 12 years; the AV industry is comfortable once you find your place.

After appearing in “The Naked Director” I was told by people in the film industry that it’d be a shame to miss an opportunity (like the next season). At the same time, retirement in 3 years was a long time away. I was getting quite a lot of work and offers, but am unable to balance the opportunities.

XC: So participating in “The Naked Director” made you realize you had become an actress?

NK: I felt an obligation to. The director of the work, Eiji Uchida, wanted me and casted me as a guest heroine, for a role that had not originally existed.

The scene was extremely tough, and I pushed myself to the limit. Once it had gotten in, and was distributed internationally, it was highly praised. I was invited to participate in international films and productions. I realized that I had been confining myself to a very small world.

Not just the AV industry, but the Japanese entertainment industry. There’s also the overseas markets as well, and I was narrowing my own avenues. I want to act, and felt that if I wanted to go, I had to do it now.

Scene from Modern Lovers (2020)

There are a few more lines in the interview, however I want to leave it off with Nanami’s last words which were-

“I want people to know that I was an AV actress and stripper and use it as a weapon. I don’t want to lose that part of me”.

Hope you enjoyed the interview, and there will be more to come! This is a send-off for Nanami as she moves onto the next chapter of her life. If you enjoyed this, please let me know in the comments as it gives an indication for me to do more like this one with other actresses :)

Check out the second part of my tribute here!

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Comments
Mike 2 years ago
Really enjoyed this, and as she is my favorite AV idol, I found if fascinating
Zredd7 2 years ago
When will you post the rest of Nanami Kawakami’s interview?
Mangochin 2 years ago

Sorry, I've been busy w/ IRL stuff and haven't logged on in a few months. I plan on posting it sometime December/January for part 2, and part 3 in February in conjunction w/ Nanami's official retirement from JAV. It'll also depend on when release days are busy for writers though, so we'll see.

Zredd7 2 years ago
Question. Is there any DVD’s of her at that rock theater? I would love to purchase one. She’s stripped in some of her av movies but I’d love to see the live version. Will it still be mosiac censored if it isn’t a porn video?
Mangochin 2 years ago

To my knowledge, there's no video tapes of strip shows (and I haven't confirmed this but I believe they don't allow filming either). But, I'm not that familiar w/ the strip scene tbh, so I'm not even sure if they show genitals (but even if they did I'd assume it'd be hard to see- and the point of going to them isn't for the genitals- it's for the performance they put on. I believe they show promotional samples to give clues, but I think my best advice would be to just try it in the future at least to try the experience.

Zredd7 2 years ago
I love her. She’s a terrific talent. I just wish she would do a Gokkun movie. RBD-766 is my favorite work she did. She has that intensity that makes her performance seem real. At the same time she appears vulnerable and weak but her inner strength helps her to adapt and survive. RBD-766 had a sad ending esp the last scene where her deceased husband can be seen in the background. It makes you feel for the actress and her struggle from normal life to a sex slave. Her acting ability let’s you feel her character and her situation which is what great performers do. I like the interview thus far & look forward to the rest. Thank you.
Mangochin 2 years ago

Sorry for the late reply! Thank you so much, and I'm glad you enjoyed it!!

jackfromdownunder 2 years ago
Looking to do interviews, how about 1/ Iroha Natsume2/ Ai Mukai
ZENRA 2 years ago

Do our best!

scwtr_92 2 years ago
Wow... She really has a clear view of the things she wants. That's awesome. I'm happy for her.On the sidenote, that kind of ambitious personality is a real turn on (it reminds me of Kaho Shibuya's).
Mangochin 2 years ago

Yup! I'm really glad that people are supportive of her future endeavors! As for the ambitious personality, I'd argue most AV actresses have the ambitious personality, but their passions lie in different areas!

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