Yukiko Kaname - Activist Preaches To Overturn AV's Controversial Law

Published : August 18th, 2022 Written by trapstar

Trapstar here, reporting live from ZENRA headquarters. Bringing you the latest buzz in the Twitter JAV space in recent days

Amidst a plethora of discontent faced by the Japanese adult industry in the recent few months, one woman has stood out as a beacon of hope for the estranged community of actresses and the myriad of workers associated with the adult industry in direct or indirect means for their livelihood, often prone to a constant threat lingering above their head of going jobless the very next second or practically even homeless, considering the worst case following the impact of the controversial AV law that has up to some extent, wreaked havoc to the Japanese adult industry for quite a while now.

Yukiko Kaname's Campaign Poster

The sudden entry of Yukiko Kaname into the AV scene isn't something to be startled by, but rather behold. An exponential ledger of welfare work that this particular woman has done throughout her years as an activist for the adult community and the industry en masse, serves as a lesson in benevolence that could be a topic entirely in itself to debate in the halls of reputed Japanese universities & government institutions. If by any means, you have not gone weary of keeping up with the flurry of tweets on the SNS platform, Twitter, regarding the new AV law, you might not face a hard time recognizing her, by now.

"To change the state of politics that discriminates against employment and the way of politics that does not listen to the voices of people in the sex industry community, I applied for the candidate of the Constitutional Democratic Party and managed to get official recognition. I will do my best so that people working in the sex industry have political power!"

A seasoned activist and orator who frequently voices support for adult workers under her support group "SWASH", while having herself associated with the adult business from her heydays, Yukiko Kaname ran for the House of Councilors election on July 10, delegating as a candidate for the Constitutional Democratic Party. While the activist turned politician garnered her fair amount of spotlight having claimed her interest to run for the election to vouch for her advocacy in the upper house, Yukiko is no stranger to the political landscape of the country. Having an ongoing tussle with the country's lawmakers since the early 2000s, Kaname-san has time & time again stood out as an advocate for the adult industry. Fairly outspoken with her candid demeanor, she has managed to iterate and put forth a much raw side of the adult industry and the parties involved in front of a few media houses, from an innumerable amount of fieldwork and hands-on experience with her time in the industry.

Quite a prolific example of this is her brainchild, "SWASH", a support group that acts as an umbrella body for adult workers in the industry for whom she has been an active spokesperson throughout the decade. Working simultaneously with sponsors and organizations that support their safety and health. Besides Kaname- san also seems to be active in a wide array of activities such as consultation services over the phone for adult sex workers and training programs for custom shop owners. With this being her very first time running for an election, having voiced support earlier, regarding critical matters about the adult industry in Japan for over a decade, Yukiko comes armed with a very solid modus operandi at her disposal. Kaname san, who has been an active voice for the industry peers and wants to protect the rights of sex workers involved in the business, thoroughly wiping out the discrimination from its roots on a national scale surrounding the industry as a whole, was quoted saying in one of her many public appearances, "Don't decide (the bill) without the parties involved. My body is mine." The Democratic Party advocate pointed out that the recent AV law, which proved to be a huge blow for the industry, was decided upon and executed in a rush, because there was no hearing from the parties involved (herein the sex workers), or the field in the process of legislation, while further adding to her statement, "To stop the laws and policies without parties that make people working in the sex industry even more distressed, I would like to hear the voices of people working in the sex industry and reflect them in politics. I want to deliver it to the upper house"

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A press clipping from Yukiko Kaname's latest interview (in Japanese)/ courtesy Life Crossing 

To make the readers aware, Kaname-san's participation comes at a very critical time in the history of the Japanese adult industry as it struggles to bounce back from the aftermath of a deadly disease, all while adhering to the stringent lockdowns following that. In recent times, a majority of adult industry workers and custom store operators have run out of business, given they were not eligible for COVID leave compensation and sustained benefits, that the government rolled out for its workforce populus. Adult niche businesses that were straight up not eligible for these benefits have attempted to sue the state in the past months, but the Tokyo District Court downright rejected any such claims later, stating quite shamelessly that "sex customs are essentially unhealthy for the economy" Following the court's decision, Kaname-san and her colleagues criticized its statement for lacking moral in judgment, while calling it 'dehumanizing'. Although workers were eligible for benefits, businesses were still excluded from the state compensations. 

Moreover, the controversial AV Prevention Law passed in June this year, put forth some utterly strange terms forward like the contract must be agreed upon one month before the actual shooting date, with a clause that gives free liberty to the performer to vilify the contract in the period if they decided to change their mind. Additionally, makers have to adhere to a four-month interval window between shooting and actual publication and promotion related to the JAV. The burden which could be borne by countless independent performers and professional studios alike, existing in the AV ecosystem, would go bankrupt overnight. Following the passing of the law, a huge populus of adult industry workers involved by any means to the industry flipped their jobs or have left the industry, per se, looking for opportunities elsewhere.

Through multiple Twitter threads, Yukiko elaborates eleven critical points about her political agenda as she was quoted saying in the introductory video, "I want to spread the fact that the sex industry is decided by the people who work in the sex industry". In the thread, Yukiko streamlined her political vendetta for the upcoming election. The activist turned politician used the platform as a catalyst to put forth the eleven commandments she'd raise about the welfare of the sex workers if in the future she gets elected to the house of councilors. The thread offers a comprehensive guide to Kaname- san's political agenda to act as a protective umbrella for the multitude of parties involved in the Japanese adult business ranging from mainstream actresses, industry workers, sex workers, and custom shop owners who seem to have all suffered the wrath of going out of business due to the recent two epidemics that hit the adult industry, consecutively, COVID and the now controversial AV law.

Throughout the thread, Yukiko talks about various measures to be taken from the perspective of an adult industry insider like reducing high accommodation rentals for AV actresses (a recent example was that of Sakura Tsukishima being unable to pay lease), preventing from doing, welfare measures for custom shops to tackle unforeseen disasters, setting up a parliamentary body for former sex workers, making the process streamlined for adult sex workers to run for elections devoid of their professional background. She seemed to have hit the trigger point for the vulnerable adult industry participants by claiming to raise the issue regarding the review and revision of the latest AV law in the parliament, given she was elected for the upcoming term.

"About a month of running with Yukiko Kaname is about to end!
The end is the beginning.
I want to run through Kaname's new life together!"

Peers from the industry were diligent to voice support for Yukiko's candidacy in the upcoming elections that were supposedly scheduled for July 10th. Kaname-san has been a flag bearer for the industry and has taken a stand for an industry that has been downtrodden for a while now, no wonder the 34-year-old activist didn't have a tough time leveraging support from her close affiliations to the industry. The likes of AV veterans like Maki Tomoda and Chisato Soda did more than voice support for the councilor, as they seemed to be a part of her political campaigns throughout those rigorous three weeks, she campaigned for in several prefectures around the country.

"I'm sorry for not being able to win due to my lack of ability.

However, because of my candidacy, I have received many comments.

I think that the campaign pledges aimed at people working in the sex industry and the support from the AV industry also raised the political awareness of those involved.

We will continue to expand this trend."

Japanese adult Twitter had a field day on July 10th, the day of the election as seemingly similar tweets such as "I went to vote for the first time" and "I was interested in the election" occupied the majority of my feed on the platform. AV star Mikako Horiuti plotted her first vote in an elementary school while citing the reason that her career depends on it, as she was quoted mentioning in a tweet. Certain other actresses like Nono Esai, Ichijo Yomio as well as Arina Hashimoto did their due diligence, while the latter shared a funny incident describing being bit by a mosquito, on her way back home. Actress, Hinata Marin conveyed her disappointment in the current state of AV, implying more youngsters to get involved to vote and for it to not be left just to adults, further adding that she had thoroughly read through a couple of Shinzo Abe's works lately, adding that the late Japanese Prime Minister had a considerable impact on her thoughts in the recent period. Sakura Tsukishima who'd been the poster girl for the industry for this fight against the heavily flawed AV law shared her experience casting a vote, via a tweet. Earlier, while the actress had expressed her desire to enlist candidacy for the upcoming elections given her dismay with the current state of affairs that led the actress to lose her house lease, (which we covered in this column, earlier) dropped two dimes retweeting her close affiliate's tweet while expressing her astonishment to the numbers the latter had managed to pull through in votes in such a short timeframe.

Yukiko Kaname garnered upward of 17,000 votes in the recent elections.

Streams of support poured in for Kaname san the following evening after the election results were announced. The activist who stood 14th overall, with 17,529 votes conveyed her emotions in a tweet, subsequently to her supporters which included a diaspora of individuals from both AV and non-AV backgrounds. In her recent tweet, Kaname san humbly apologized for her shortcoming of not being managed to have won, given the outpouring of support she had before the election. She concluded the tweet with a motive to expand the revolution to more parts of the country. She also pointed out that the support from the adult industry, throughout, has been beneficial to raise awareness in favor of the parties involved that had turned a blind eye to the industry since the bill was passed.

The activist turned politician actively pursued Youtube as an avenue for promotion

Although Kaname- san might have fallen short of winning the candidacy this time, the fact that she received 17,000 plus votes compared to a net total of 10,000 votes that she'd expected in the past based on YouTube statistics from her campaign videos is in itself quite overwhelming and inexplicable for her team to fathom. However, an earlier interview of Kaname- san given to a publication noted that the majority of votes reflected in her ballot appeared to have come from the Populus settled in the country's red-light districts, which were among few of the strategically strong communities to reach out to as part of her campaign.

"I used to work at this store! I'm going to the upper house election next time, so I'd like you to put up an election poster! The clerk was surprised.  It's amazing to say that I worked in customs.

The number and size of things that I have given up just because I worked in customs are immeasurable."

Another valid reason that was pointed out in the article led to the theory that the influx of votes in such a short while might have had something to do with the activist's past profession working at adult custom shops, that might've created a snowball effect for the Populus from those areas to entrust the activist. Going forward, a strategic move might've accidentally skyrocketed her chances of winning, given the posters that were stuck to these particular custom shops by the activist's campaign team, which could have sparked  debates among the like minded peers of workers and customers in the AV shops. A majority of those single handedly increased the chances of winning by voting for Kaname-san, the reason behind this being they believed the fact that there is a candidate who would listen to their opinions and raise those in the upper house.

However, the fact her team managed to pull this feat off entirely with the help of internet without an election office, vehicle in place or furthermore even a solid core team working around the clock is in itself quite commendable, as it  offers a room and hope for her to run for the house in the next tenure, working as an advocate for the industry and ensuring belief for the future generations with certain laws that could be revised and reversed that might prove beneficial for the industry in the long run. Eventually, I would like to conclude this column by chipping in a quote that reflects Yukiko's admiration for the industry and it's peers and her message to the upper echeleons of the countries political hierarchy, that the revolution for the spur to put this industry back in its original state has just begun.

"I didn't have the candidacy this time because I wanted to be a politician, but there was a place where I wanted something like a response and a feeling to fight in the future, and I got it. So I don't have to be depressed."

She certainly has nothing to worry about. As a platform, that has been an active voice for the JAV community to the west, we identify with her motives & efforts and collectively wish Yukiko Kaname all her luck for her future endeavours.

We'd keep bringing you more such updates at ZENRA, to hop on the fan wagon follow us at Twitter.


 

Comments


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Surprise 1 year ago
"Associated with the adult business from her heydays"? Does that mean she worked as a AV actress or what?
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trapstar 1 year ago

Although not confirmed, but she has herself stated multiple times during the campaign period that she used to work as an employee in one of the many adult custom shops spread across the country

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