Japan: Pageant winner a sex star

By Ryann Connell
November 12, 2006

In the almost 100-year-old annals of Japanese beauty contests, there's never been an incident like the one rocking the pageant world right now, with newly crowned Miss International Japan Hisako Shirata exposed for having performed nude sex scenes for the camera, according to Shukan Shincho.

Though Japan has over 1,000 established beauty contests (ranging from Miss Glacier in the north to Miss Hibiscus in the south) in a history dating back to 1908, Miss International is regarded as one of the Big Three, together with Miss Japan and Miss Universe Japan, the weekly says.

But when 24-year-old, 170-centimeter-tall model Shirata was selected as Miss Japan late last month, it sent the relatively unknown's name recognition soaring and opened a real can of worms. Specifically, the Miss International victory put Shirata's stint as a thespian in the spotlight.

"Three years ago, Shirata appeared in an R-rated movie called 'Kanzen Naru Kaiiku Himitsu no Chikashitsu (The Perfect Pet: Secret Basement).' As the title perhaps suggests, she played the role of a high school girl abducted and kept prisoner by a man played by Taro Yamamoto. It was her first movie and was pretty steamy, getting her nude and performing sex and bondage scenes," a reporter on the entertainment beat tells Shukan Shincho.

Miss International's entrants are only required to be under a certain age limit and be unmarried. None of the questions are otherwise probed about their pasts. A beauty contest industry insider shakes their head when it comes to the decision to make Shirata Miss International Japan.

"There are always performers who apply to take part in these contests. Normally, the judges are pretty strict on actresses and they often find it hard to win," the industry insider tells Shukan Shincho. "An example of this is the way contestants approach the cameras. Judges are always going to take a harder line when it comes to comparing a woman whose profession is to appear before the camera and another woman who has to muster up the courage to show herself off before a lens for the first time in her life." Performing nude and doing sex scenes had also been widely regarded as surefire pathways to failure.

"Beauty contests are all about the contestants being 'clean' and 'pure.' There's not much you can do about contest winners who go on to do nude work, but giving them the prize after they've already acted nude is a bit rich," the insider says. "Some people are suggesting that Shirata's win is a sign that the contest's judges weren't doing their job properly."

Indignant judges scoff at the suggestion.

"Shirata was in an R-rated movie? It's the first I've heard," one of the judges tells the weekly. "I never heard the topic raised during judges' discussion about the contest. I guess she wouldn't have won if we'd known about it."

Shirata's handlers are just as angry at the implications that her silver screen sex scenes have been kept a secret. Her talent agency staff say she's always been open about her past.

"Her website states that she's appeared in movies and her profile's listed there, plain for all to see," the agency spokesman tells Shukan Shincho. "We don't see any problem at all."

Copyright 1999-2006, Mainchi Daily.  Used with permission. All rights reserved.  Ryann Connell is a Staff Writer and Senior Desk Editor for the Mainchi Daily News. No content may be reproduced in whole or part without written permission.  Please contact us via the link below for re-print and syndication policies or visit Mainchi Daily at http://mdn.mainichi-msn.co.jp/ for more information on Mainchi stories.

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