Translated News, Interviews, Blogs, and More From Japan's Other Side

The Structure of a Japanese AV Company Part 1

Men's Cyzo - Original Japanese Date: March 5th, 2014
English Translation Published: June 20th, 2014

The difference between a Japanese AV Distribution Company and Production Company are explained with examples.

(Translator's note:  This is the first part of a massive four part series on My Dearest Desire all about the side of Japanese AV known only to those who actually work in the industry.  Parts 1 and 2 discuss AV companies from a macro perspective including discrimination against those working in the industry experience both from within their own company and also from the general population.  Parts 3 and 4 focus in great detail on the 8-step process of actually creating a Japanese AV movie from the initial interviews with AV stars all the way to pressing the final releases.  Read no further if you want to keep your thoughts unsullied about what actually goes on in this unique type of Japanese company.)

I used to work at a big Japanese AV company. It was a fast two years, but I did have time to taste both the bitter and the sweet along with meeting a variety of people. This company alternated between being #1 and #2 in the industry and I had great opportunities to study its inner workings. What fans of Japanese AV may think a production company like is almost certainly incorrect. Keep reading if you're interested in an overview of the Japanese adult industry. Take note that this piece is heavily based off of my personal experiences. Either way, I think this will be beneficial for those wanting to know more about what goes on behind the scenes.

I first will talk about the subdivisions of the Japanese adult industry.

There are basically two types of adult video companies: the first are Production Companies where there are studios and cameras surrounding AV stars having sex and the other type are Distribution Companies that handle taking the movies Production Companies create and distributing them to stores and the like.

Most readers are probably very familiar with Soft on Demand. However, did you know that Soft on Demand is not a Japanese AV Production Company? As a Distribution Company, their main line of business is their own store along with distributing movies to other shops. Any titles that seem to be made by them are actually produced by SOD Create. Also, many of the company names that release titles through them are just pseudonyms. This is all done in order to not compromise Soft on Demand's position as a Distribution Company. Thus, there are things they can and cannot do, but there are ways around it. It's quite the entanglement.

In spite of seeing so much AV, working for a Distribution Company was a big change as there was no time where I was involved with actual productions. It was a straight-forward desk job. My daily work saw me encountering no AV stars. Rather, my coworkers of the female orientation were all older women. Jobs like the one I had are frequently offered in regular job-hunting magazines so that's where I recommend looking if you want to try this out. I know many who took the route I did expecting to be surrounded by AV stars doing their thing and ending up being very disappointed. They usually quit within half a year.

So what goes on at a Japanese AV Production Company? These companies are always hiring assistant directors—or AD's. However, working as one does not mean you'll be surrounded by sex all day. You're more likely than not ensuring vibrators have full charges and preparing things for the next scene. What's more, AV directors are known to have tempers and will not think twice about unleashing their ire on you for even the slightest infraction. Many AD's end up not wanting to clock in.

Both Japanese AV Distribution and Production Companies have a very sports-oriented mindset with strict divisions between ranks. It's very similar to both the TV and movie industries. All of these industries are best suited for people with thick skin and a fierce drive to succeed with actual intellect being secondary.


To be continued...


Written by Miyuki Nakagawara



Men's Cyzo recommends this title to readers of this article.


(Translator's note: The fact that not all Japanese AV companies actually produce movies should be news to many of you. However, as the article mentions, companies identifying as Distribution Companies often find ways around this by acting as parent companies to smaller Production Companies. Those who wish to work for either type of company should be wary as the work for new hires is soul-crushing.)

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