Yesterday news that Sho Iguchi, president of “indies” JAV maker Soft On Demand, had been arrested for violating the Entertainment Business Law by allowing adult video actresses to entertain customers without the required license. Let’s find out more!
Why Was Soft On Demand’s President Arrested?
Soft On Demand is a popular adult video maker that’s been active since it was formed in 1995. Begun by former TV producer Ganari Takahashi, who wanted to bring style and creativity to the industry, SOD has been a powerful force in the Japanese porn world that’s paralleled the history of J-List. (We have many of their videos in stock on the site.)
In October 2020, the company opened Soft On Demand Land, dubbed an “adult theme park” which was a five-story building that customers could wander around inside, finding different attractions on each floor. You could even talk with porn stars as they pour whisky for you. Making a restaurant where you can potentially drink with your favorite JAV performer is a bold idea for a new business by any measure, but doing it in the middle of a global pandemic was positively bonkers.
Want to visit Soft On Demand Land with JAV actress Kaho Shibuya? We’ve got a blog post for you here!
But that’s the kind of company Soft On Demand has always been. And J-List, which has been selling the company’s adult videos for 25+ years, loves working with them.
The issue seems to be that, while SOD Land had the required license to serve food to customers, the moment JAV actresses were seen as “entertaining” customers, then a separate license become necessary. There’s a long list of checkboxes that determine what rules an establishment like this has to follow. For example, whether girls are talking with customers on a one-to-one basis, whether they’re sitting down with them while making drinks or are just serving them from the other side of the counter, and whether customers can purchase “private drinking sessions” with the girls.
How Are Adult Businesses Handled Under Japanese Law?
Adult entertainment comes under the umbrella of the Fuuzoku Eigyo-hou or the Law Concerning Regulation of Amusement and Soapland-style Businesses. Prostitution is not illegal in Japan, and there are quite a lot of businesses where a male customer can purchase various services from a cute girl. This might take the form of drinks and a hand-job in a “Pink Salon,” oil play in the bath in a Soapland, or straight sex in the red light districts of Tokyo, Osaka or Sapporo.
At varying times, the Japanese police have tried to limit the spread of these kinds of businesses by introducing licensing requirements the companies have trouble meeting. Tokyo’s famous region of
Kamuro-cho Kabuki-cho, where SOD Land is located, has especially been the target of police over the past two decades, in the aftermath of a terrible fire in 2001 that caused the deaths of 44 people.
Do you have questions about Japan’s adult video world? Read our interview with former porn star Kaho Shibuya here!
Soft On Demand Has Gotten in Trouble Many Times in the Past
As Japan’s most flamboyant indie adult film studio, SOD has gotten into legal trouble multiple times in the past. Some examples:
- One of the company’s early hits was the Zenra (“fully nude”) series, in which girls performed amazing feats in public, like nude ice skating or sex while skydiving out of an airplane while naked. One of my favorites was a fully nude ballet rendition of Swan Lake, with on-stage sex in between scenes.
- One early video series the company did in the past was the Deep Kiss series, in which two female friends were offered money if they’d kiss on camera. When one of the girls in question turned out to be under the age of 18, it caused big problems.
- Back in the day, Soft On Demand would rent buses in which JAV actresses would poke their bodies out to greet fans, but they were getting fucked from behind inside the bus. All of this went away due to pressure from the police.
- SOD’s subsidiary Natural High used to film “chikan videos” showing train groping and actual sex on real trains, with several actors standing around providing cover.
- A camera crew got arrested for filming a porn video in a McDonald’s restaurant. What could go wrong with that idea?
Incidentally, I had an extremely hard time finding details about the above cases, which I know from following the company for so long. Is it because the current media feeding frenzy over the SOD president’s arrest is crowding out all other articles in Google, or another example of Japanese media self-censorship of a powerful company?
SOD was founded by Ganari Takahashi, a savvy businessman and entrepreneur with a background in TV production. When one of his favorite adult film studios was nearing bankruptcy, he borrowed money from fellow director and porn enthusiast Terry Ito to create a completely new brand of Japanese porn that would be dubbed “indie JAV.” One of SOD’s firm rules was that all on-camera sex would be real, a huge departure from the common practice of major porn studios at the time, portraying fake sex since the mosaics hid the actual penetration.
Soft On Demand was a big hit, and the company went from being on the edge of failure to earning a high of $60 million at its peak. Today the company is most famous for its Magic Mirror go-anywhere JAV studio in which couples have sex behind a one-way mirror, the SOD Employee series detailing the sexy things staff at the company get up to, the Zenra Airline series, and other fun works like Could You Enter the Men’s Hot Spring Bath With Only a Towel?
What Are SOD Fans Saying About the Arrest?
This is terrible. I didn’t know such a shop even existed. I’m going to go there once and see what it’s all about. If I don’t come back, look for me!
The adult industry has changed so much, with the move from physical media to streaming taking a deep cut of the profits of video makers, so that actresses need to do side jobs just to survive. I feel sorry for them.
Those rules are stupid, and most “girls’ bars” ignore them, operating without licenses. If they get licensed, they’re not allowed to operate late at night, and police patrol often, harassing them and making it hard to stay in business.
Hearing that the president of SOD has been arrested makes me worry about the future of the Magic Mirror series.
Not that it matters, but I think the Soft On Demand logo is a really great design.
According to the great Ganari Takahashi, the definition of a loser is he who chooses a path, but then refuses to walk that path with his head held high after having done so.
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