by Chris MaGee
Here's a news story that has a bit of everything - debt, sinking popularity, troubled marriages, public denials and sex. The J-Film Pow-Wow tries to steer clear of celebrity muck-racking, but when a story is as juicy as this it's nearly impossible to resist.
On Thursday Tokyograph reported that 57-year-old actress Yoko Shimada, the star of Yoshitaro Nomura's "Castle of Sand", Kon Ichikawa's "The Inugami Family" and the 1980's mini-series "Shogun" was going to be making the shift from mainstream acting to starring in her own adult video. Arrangements were apparently being made with MUTEKI, a production company that releases porn videos starring minor Japanese celebrities. Even though Shimada was the subject of a nude photo book in 1992 (above left) the announcement of her... well, doing what comes naturally in an adult video (and at the age of 57 to boot) has caused a fair bit of scandal in Japan. Rumors almost immediately circulated that the ¥200 million pay day for the video would pull Shimada out of debt. It was even rumored that she was making the video to spite her unfaithful husband.
Then today Tokyograph changed its story. In an interview with the Sports Hochi newspaper Shimada sid that she was indeed starring in a pink film titled "Shimada Yoko ni Aitai". It is being helmed by well known pink director Shinji Imaoka and in it she would play herself in a scenario where she meets and gets amorous with a fan who is terminally ill. It's important at this point to differentiate between a pink film and an AV film. Pink films feature nudity and simulated sex in conjunction with a basic plot while AV features unsimulated sex and is much clser to North American pornography.
Shimada didn't deny a connection with MUTEKI though and said she still may be starring in a film for them, although she is purposefully vague as to what this project will entail. Shimada did vehemently deny that she is in debt and that her marriage is in crisis. All we can say is that even though pink films don't carry the same stigma that sex films in North America do, the fact that a once popular actress is considering possibly starring in an AV film gives us the creeps...