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[Opinion] Adult Videos and Pandas

Posted March. 21, 2005 22:41,   


Up until the mid-1980s, when a person nonchalantly said he watched a “video,” it meant an adult video. They would usually seep in from the U.S. or Japan, and their distribution was strictly prohibited. So a surreptitious screening would be held in a motel room or a shabby private home for a price of 1,000 won per show.

However, these videos have changed their name to “ero videos” and “adult videos,” (AV•adult video) and have found their way into the living room. The AV business is one of the mainstream industries in the Japanese sex market, which advertises, “We provide every type of adult video a human being can imagine.” According to one study, approximately 100 production companies produce 1,000-1,500 of these videos monthly, and supply them to nearly 9,000 video rental shops and stores. Add to this figure the model offices which dispatch AV actors, the printing and delivery companies, and related cellular phone and internet site industries, and the value of the industry on the economy becomes clear. The current economic impact of the AV industry is some one trillion yen (approximately ten trillion won).

Korean companies entered the adult video business after the mid-1980s. The rapid circulation of domestic VCRs after the 1988 Olympics played a crucial role in this. Afterwards, the “Bovine Lady,” “Raspberries,” and the “Byun Kang-soe” series that used to play in theaters evaporated and we entered the era of explicit adult video.

The adult video business, which once sprouted 30,000 video rental stores, is now facing difficulties, however, and has been reduced to around 10,000 stores. The indiscriminate distribution of internet “illegal obscenities” is hugely influential. But the faith of the adult video industry is: “Where there is consumption, we will not disappear.”

It has been reported that the Wolong Giant Panda Conservation Center in China has had success in the notoriously difficult task of enticing pandas to mate by showing them adult videos of males and females mating on a regular basis. Their average mating time, which usually takes about a minute, increased to an astonishing 55 minutes and 13 seconds. The human being is the only animal that enjoys sex not only for species-survival reasons. But the panda has proven the effects of adult videos, which human beings shy away from discussing in public.

Shim Kyu-sun, Editorialist, ksshim@donga.com