Japan is famous for Shinto and Buddhist temples, samurai and ninja warriors, geishas and massage parlours, and a lot, a lot of porn. Weird and freakish porn mostly is what we in the western world hear and see.
But now Japanese director Takahisa Zeze wants you to meet the women behind those movies themselves with his new film, ‘The Low Life’ based on the 2016 smash hit Japanese novel “Saitei” which tells the story of three women who work in the adult movie industry, as written by erotic actress Mana Sakura.
There is Miho who is a house wife in her thirties and needs to do something new with herself to fill her days. There is Ayako, a teenage high school girl who still relies on her mother. And lastly there is Ayano who has moved to the big city of Tokyo.
"The movie is about people searching for their place in the world, for their identity," Mr Zeze said.
"I don't think there was an urgent sense of wanting to destroy taboos when we set out to make the film. But hopefully it can go some way to helping break down the prejudices that still exist toward porn. When we were auditioning for the film, for example, some actresses turned down the roles. They were okay with just taking their clothes off but they didn't feel comfortable about playing a porn star."
The book’s author, 24 year old former bikini model Miss Mana Sakura, is very proud her book has been turned into a full feature movie so fast. She said: "In my heart maybe I didn't want to focus on the murkier side of the business. Obviously not everyone is happy, like in most jobs."
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"But not everyone is unhappy either. I feel that people too often want to draw the conclusion that all AV actresses are unhappy. Well, I'm not unhappy and I wanted to concentrate more on daily life, more on the light than the dark."
"Every year thousands of women make their debut in porn," added Miss Sakura. "The girl next door could be a porn actress, or your friends could be. And while you can't avoid stereotypes, hopefully this movie can help change perceptions a little bit."