Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on April 2010

The last few months have been a whirlwind for adult video starlet Saori Hara. Just prior to getting busted in January for an “indecent” appearance in the photo book Tokyo 20XX, the 22-year-old actress released her memoir, My Real Name is Mai Kato: Why I became an AV Girl. But certainly most memorable was her crowning last month as Best Actress at the Sky PerfecTV! Adult Broadcasting Awards.

“I am so surprised to have received this wonderful award,” beamed Hara during the ceremony at a theater in the love hotel area of Shibuya.

Now in its sixth year, the somewhat tongue-in-cheek Adult Broadcasting Awards featured many of the hottest stars on programming carried by satellite broadcaster Sky PerfecTV!

Hara, who along with erotic photographer Kishin Shinoyama was served papers for participating in nude photo shoots outdoors, was not exactly a surprise choice. The March 25 issue of tabloid Shukan Shincho reported that the second printing of My Real Name, which pulls few punches in detailing just what is going through an AV gal’s mind during filming, sold 10,000 copies following the incident.

Representing channel Midnight Blue, Hara (right) was not the only heavy-hitting talent on hand. Risa Tsukino (Enta! 371) received a media prize supported by tabloid Nikkan Gendai. Maria Ozawa (Queen Bee), one of Japan’s most recognizable AV stars, claimed another media award sponsored by web portal Livedoor.

“I was not at all expecting this,” said the 24-year-old Ozawa, who has appeared in such films as Obscene Nymphomaniac 5 and Let’s Do It at School. “I look forward to receiving further support from my fans down the road.”

The winners of the transparent trophies—which were seductively licked and gripped for the benefit of photographers and spectators throughout the evening—were determined by a mix of online fan voting and an industry committee, which considered approximately 10,000 programs broadcast over the provider’s 31 channels during 2009.

In this reporter’s experience spanning four ceremonies, this year’s event was easily the most emotional. The winner of Best New Actress, Shelly Fujii (Rainbow Channel), broke down in tears after receiving her prize from Haruka Ito, who claimed the award last year.

“I want to thank all my fans,” blubbered the newcomer. “Please don’t take any photos now because my face is a wreck. From the bottom of my heart, thank you very much.”

Equally moving was the speech by Yuzuka Kinoshita (Channel Ruby). The actress, also a rookie, claimed the Best Program prize for her role as a large-breasted angel who descends from heaven.

“While this is considered my piece of work, it was a true team effort,” she said.

Paradise TV, known for its mix of wacky and provocative programming, won Best Production in HD for an effort that featured an assembly of ten women engaging in copious debauchery.

“I have now been reassured that people enjoy works featuring mature women,” said Riri Koda, 36, representing the lascivious ladies. “I hope that we were able to convey the fun we had while shooting the film.”

Perhaps the biggest upset was pulled off by kimono-clad Natsumi Horiguchi (Perfect Choice), who at age 29 managed to snatch Best Mature Actress from a field that included substantially older nominees, with Koda among them.

Wrapping up the evening’s proceedings was a special stage show that featured erotic games and displays. In honor of recent technological advances in 3D film, audience members were provided polarized glasses as three actresses competitively shook their chests and thrust their rear ends at the camera. The video output was projected on the screen above the stage.
Yet this was truly Hara’s night. Just prior to the announcement of the Best Actress prize, last year’s champion, Kirara Asuka, was on hand to offer a taste of what lies ahead for Japan’s newest AV queen.

“I won the award through the support of everyone,” said Asuka, fitted in a conservative but tight brown dress. “And after winning, I was able to grow throughout the year as a result of my many experiences.”

The festivities closed with the traditional panty-toss to the audience.