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People's Republic gets to peek-in at Japanese strip tease

By Masuo Kamiyama
November 4, 2004

"Only in Japan has the striptease become a cultural icon," asserts Katsuya Ueda. "But I'd certainly like to see it succeed in setting down roots in China. I think many fans are waiting to watch it, and promoters seem to be eager to get in on it as well. But this year, from media coverage of the Asia Cup soccer tournament and prostitution incidents involving Japanese, anti-Japanese feelings appear to have picked up over the year before, so we gave up on the idea."

Ueda is president of Arty, an Osaka-based consultancy to venture businesses, and, as Shukan Jitsuwa points out, the man who deserves credit for having succeeded in exporting the first striptease performance from Japan to China -- the later of which is a country that has traditionally taken a prudish view of public nudity.

"My ultimate objective is to open a talent school in China, train dancers and open up a club," Ueda continues. "To start the ball rolling, last year I arranged for a strip performance to coincide with China's National Day on October 1. No matter how I explained, though, the Chinese just didn't seem to understand what I meant."

Be as it may, Ueda managed to er, pull it off. The performances were held at the 300-person capacity Shijixing Langman Zhidu theater (capacity: 300) in Yangzhou, a medium-sized city in Jiangsu Province, west of Shanghai.

Fortunately or unfortunately, certain compromises had to be made to placate the sensibilities of the natives.

"During the negotiations, the government and Public Security Bureau advised me that the dancer would not be permitted show both nipples or her crotch, but could bare the rest of her body," Ueda relates. "They also posted policemen at the corners of the stage, which sort of put a damper on things.

"When the show finally got under way, you could feel the swell of excitement from the audience. We had the dancer shimmy to the music, peel off her costume and then undulate on a bed on stage. It was done just as it would have been in Japan --- as complete as anything you might see in the Rock Theater in Asakusa!"

The theater in Yangzhou is an established venue well equipped with a large stage, good lighting and sound. The towns' wealthier citizens have been known to cavort till dawn there, blowing as much as an ordinary worker's entire monthly salary in one evening.

According to Ueda, every strip performance was a sellout, with a total of 1,500 patrons filing in to watch the star performer, who goes by the professional name Maiko Yuki, flash her epidermis.

Ms. Yuki, whose curriculum vitae also includes magazine modeling and appearances in adult videos, is already well known in Hong Kong.

"Since the performance lasted 60 minutes, we produced a 'team show' with two other performers," Ueda tells Shukan Jitsuwa. "We found out afterwards that a big shot had even come all the way from Guangdong Province in the south to watch them.

"We also arranged for a polaroid shooting performance (in which members of the audience are rented instant cameras and encouraged to take close-up shots of the strippers), but I guess Chinese are a bit shy -- there were few takers -- so instead we just had the theater staff sell the photos. Those went like hotcakes."

While the Chinese theater owner was reportedly eager to bring back the Japanese dancers for an encore in 2004, politics intervened.

Still, Ueda hasn't given up his dream of adding bump-and-grind striptease performances to Japan's repertoire of exports to the People's Republic.

"We still have hopes of bringing them back next year," he sighs, hopefully.

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