I’ve been shooting nudes all over the world for over 12 years and everywhere the industry practically always works the same way, so I thought we came well prepared and knew what we were doing. But the culture clash we experienced the first 3-4 days was shocking.
In Japan you are either a fashion model or a porn model - for them there are basically no nuances between the two. The whole porn, fashion, music and entertainment industry are run by organized gangsters.
And do not think we took on this Tokyo production lightly. In fact, it was the highest budget production we had ever planned. 2 months before our arrival a trusted colleague had spent a week doing research checking on accommodation and locations and meeting local photographers, production managers and model agents... and all seemed to be in order...
We had reviewed 100s of models online before we came to Tokyo and had handpicked many for our first big casting day. What we saw, however, was nothing like in the model composites we had been shown previously. Never before have I seen such manipulation. And the creepy agents with their “$$$” grins and stupid hats and mix of wall-street and hip-hop outfits just made it all even worse. What appeared to be big-eyed and slender girls with great features turned out to be "pygmy hogs".
Sorry for the lack of a more delicate description, but it was nothing but shocking and frustrating. It was then and there that I realized we had been blue-eyed, and that this was going to be a much bigger challenge then we would ever have imagined...