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Our Japanese Liberator - Sola Aio
Guest blogger Katrien Jacobs talks about Chinese netizens and Japanese porn stars

We are very lucky to have Katrien Jacobs - prominent scholar and author of the book People's Pornography - as our resident guest blogger. Over the coming weeks Katrien will be exploring several interesting  and potentially controversial subjects here on our news feed. If you have any questions or would like to leave a comment please post below.

Our Japanese Liberator - Sola Aio

Words by Katrien Jacobs

The Chinese desire for pornography is typified in the public support for Japanese porn stars and celebrities who partake in the Web 2.0 revolution. Chinese netizens admit to craving contact with Japanese porn stars and project onto them a sense of perfection and liberation. For instance, the porn star Sola Aoi (sometimes called Sora Aoi) became a celebrity in mainland China through her heavy activity on Twitter and Weibo. She became known for “having brought down China’s Great Firewall” when she turned into a fervent micro-blogger on Twitter in 2010 and managed to motivate thousands of Chinese fans to “jump the great firewall” and access the banned micro-blogging website.

Sola attracted about 20,000 followers on the first day of setting up her Twitter account on April 11, 2010. She started to interact with her Chinese followers and commented on various aspects of their Chinese culture and the news, such as her love for authentic Chinese cuisine, the Shanghai World Expo, or the Qinghai earthquake. On April 15, she published an auto-translated open letter to her Chinese fans: “Thank you, my breast lovers in China.” On 26th April, 2010, she announced in her blog a fund-raising campaign for the Qinghai Earthquake victims. She wrote that she strongly empathized with earthquake victims because she was born and raised in a country where earthquakes happen very frequently. Her message went viral on the Chinese Internet and she officially launched her campaign by selling self-photographed pictures.

Her earthquake campaign was a huge hit in China. She managed to raise 200,000 yen within a couple of weeks, which won her the nickname of “People’s Artist with both Virtues and Professional Skills”. Her Chinese fans commented that not only did she have a beautiful body, but also a beautiful soul. Several months later, Sola continued her China campaign by partaking in a televised online game distribution ceremony. Sola was to be featured with two other Chinese digital celebrities--the celebrity bloggers Sister Phoenix and Sister Lotus. Chinese netizens wrote that it was humiliating that Sister Sola (or: “Teacher Sola” as she was also nicknamed) would be featured together with the two Chinese “media tarts.” Sister Phoenix and Sister Lotus had previously been widely attacked as opportunistic media whores who generally lacked talent. Sister Phoenix revealed herself as a ruthless gold digger when she was caught handing out flyers near her university stating that she was  looking for a husband with a global vision and a finance degree from Peking University or Qinghua University. Sister Lotus became an Internet legend after uploading vain self-photography accompanied by essays concerning love. She was widely lambasted for being ugly, overweight and self-absorbed.

But why would it be the case that a youthful-looking Japanese porn star is so highly respected in China, where local female sexperts are widely attacked and all pornography is still officially banned? In my view, she is not only a good-looking petite with an ample bosom, she is also a hyper communicative tri-lingual entrepreneur who represents the capitalist New World Dream. She is well respected by her fans and followers as a cosmopolitan risk-taker who knows how to play the markets. It also shows that despite the official dogma of collectivism and sexual restraint, China nurtures its own legends of exoticism and reaches out for their sexual advice, input, and life-style. These Japanese porn stars may eventually help the cause of sexual freedom as women may publicly embrace life-styles and professions associated with sexual entertainment. Chinese entertainment stars who are sponsored by the CCP or by corporations are still forced to be morally pure, and hence they have become too tame for the younger generations. These local talents are trained in government-funded institutions or armies and lack the kind of sex appeal and soft power that is necessary to be an international celebrity. This is one of the reasons why Sola can be oozing sexuality while China’s national legends represent top-down management and restraint. They no longer reflect the sentiments of the people –their youthful, restless vibrations and desire for change.

People's Pornography: Sex and Surveillance on the Chinese Internet is now available

Read a review of People's Pornography in the South China Post

Posted by James Campbell at 17:46 (0) comments
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