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Kaoru Oshima – About Coming Out… Part Four

KAI-YOU - Original Japanese Date: October 5th, 2015
English Translation Published: May 18th, 2016

Kaoru Oshima is by far the most famous cross-dresser in Japan who recently retired from Japanese AV and now is pursuing a career as a tarento.

(Translator's note: This post is a continuation of a previous entry.)


KAI-YOU: What were you doing before you entered the AV industry?
Kaoru Oshima: After high school, I failed my college entrance exams so my time as a ronin was spent doing various part-time jobs like being a bartender. I finally did find full-time work, but it took awhile. However, that company soon went out of business so it was back again to working part-time here and there. I had some unique jobs too: I worked a bit in the office of an online game company and even did a stint at a cross-dressing bar, but as a 'suit boy'.


KY: So back then you still were dressing as a man?
KO: Up until I was around 23, my life was almost always spent totally as a man. All my interviews and work was done as a man too. There even was my stint at doing sales for a sports-oriented company.

KY: How was working there?

KO: It was good. It was one of the first jobs I had out of high school and it really helped orient me towards working in the real world. However, according to older coworkers, things used to be super strict there. One of the bosses would frequently tap a bamboo sword on the shoulders of lower-ranked employees while they were on sales calls.

Looking back, it was a pretty hectic environment. Mornings began with something like a pep rally along with belting out the company's philosophies along with one's own goals. We also had lots of drinking parties where the same things were said...louder and drunker.


KY: What did you belt out?
KO: From this month out I will sell big!


KY: And did you do sales-wise?

KO: So-so. My coworkers already had the big fish so I had to make do with attempting to squeeze sales out of smaller companies. Generally they'd want us selling at least 30 units of product, but I averaged around 10. I never really got past that number and no amount of pressure changed that. It was kind of pointless.


KY: It seems like no matter the situation, you come out of it on the positive side. Is this normal for you?
KO: Maybe? I have had a lot of help. For example, I owe the editor-in-chief of the publishing company a great deal of gratitude for all the aid he provided in getting my book published. I'm honestly not that great of a writer—or at least I don't think I am. My first draft was pretty horrible.

But as I turned it in and did some research, it turned out most books written by idols and the like don't sell well. It was his idea to do a photo-essay instead of a text-only publication. He said with my background even regular folk like himself would almost certainly buy a copy.


KY: Did the writing process go smoothly?
KO: No, not at all and I don't blame anyone for that. I think before I started to really publicize myself, people thought Kaoru Oshima was just a one-dimensional figure. My goal was to change their views and promote myself more as an icon to cross-dressing and much more. However, putting all that to words in a way people want to read them was very, very difficult.

I mean how do you sum that all up in a way that's readable? Chronologically is most logical, but arranging it while also allowing room for future endeavors to bloom was tough.

My editor was pretty critical of some aspects and wanted me to write in a way that would allow people with similar crises in their life to relate. Some aspects were about myself, but later drafts saw me moving away from an all-about-me approach so it would be more helpful to readers from various walks of life.

I tried not to paint myself in a good light. I know I'm not perfect. I've done some searches on the web to see what people say about me and it's not all nice...but it isn't absolutely terrible either. What I hope for is people to read my work and enjoy it. I hope it makes those who are melancholy happy at least for a bit. Some parts of the book may be direct and even somewhat controversial, but I think it's best not to bury my emotions.


To be concluded


Interview by Koduck Kawaguchi

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