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Japanese porn stars lure consumers to 3-D TVs

TOKYO— from www.dispatch.com – Porn star Mika Kayama [pictured] is at the frontier of a push to develop videos and content in Japan that Sony and Panasonic need to lure customers for their new 3-D televisions.

Kayama and Yuma Asami, the top actresses of adult-movie maker S1 No.1Style, will star in the country’s first DVDs for the 3-D format TVs, providing content analyst Yuji Fujimori says can trigger the success of the new sets. Sales of adult videos in Japan were $1.2 billion in 2009, according to Takashi Kadokura, an economist who runs Yokohama-based BRICs Research Institute. That represents about 30 percent of the overall video market in the nation, according to Kadokura.

“Adult videos will likely be an incentive for consumers to buy a 3-D TV,” said Fujimori, at Barclays Capital in Tokyo. “It’s worth paying attention to the move because it’s lack of content that’s hindering expansion.”

Closely-held S1 No.1Style will begin selling 3D X Mika Kayama today and 3D X Yuma Asami, Japan’s first pornographic titles in the new format, on June 19 to coincide with the release of Sony’s 3-D Bravia models, with more titles to follow this year, according to the producer, who uses the professional name of Sakon.

“I want to try it out,” said Satoshi Miyazaki, 33, who pays about $22 a month to watch adult cable channels. “I need something dramatic to justify replacing my TV. This could be the motivation.”

Sony, the world’s third-largest TV maker, plans to offer 3-D Bravia TVs in Japan beginning Thursday and in the U.S. and Europe later this summer, according to Yuki Shima, a Tokyo-based spokeswoman. Panasonic became the first major TV maker to sell high-definition 3-D sets in the United States in March and in Japan in April. Sharp and Mitsubishi Electric have said they plan to sell similar products.

The 3-D TVs may help stem a decline in sales of adult movies in Japan, which have dropped about 15 percent since their peak in 2006 because of a prolonged recession and competition from free online pornography, said BRICs Research’s Kadokura. “3-D technology is just what the porn industry needed,” he said.

S1 No.1Style spent three months making its first 3-D films, triple the time for a normal production, said 29-year-old Sakon.

“It was a different filming experience using a new camera,” he said. “Actors needed to move more slowly, furniture had to be relocated and lighting rearranged to make it work. But it was worth it. We’ll make a profit out of this.”

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