CHINA’S hidebound attitude towards sex has remained stagnant in recent decades and in the absence of sexual education, many of the young Chinese Internet users turned to a Japanese actress and former porn star Sora Aoi to explore the taboo subject.
Aoi’s popularity in the mainland came into the limelight when she announced her engagement on New Year’s day in a social media post that went viral, drawing nearly a million likes on Weibo – China’s equivalent of Twitter – within several days of going live.
— 蒼井そら(SOLA AOI) (@aoi_sola) January 1, 2018
And even though pornography is illegal in China, the mainland’s so-called Great Firewall was not enough not stop many Chinese men from going head over heels for the actress.
When Aoi opened her Twitter account in April 10, 2010, Chinese fans came flooded the social media site in droves, circumventing the firewall by using VPNs to follow her, despite the government’s ban on Twitter. That night came to be known as “The Night of Sora Aoi”.
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— 蒼井そら(SOLA AOI) (@aoi_sola) July 28, 2017
On Weibo, Aoi has more than 18 million followers, more than the likes of David Beckham and Taylor Swift. She also built a reputation for being the country’s sex instructor of sorts.
“To many Chinese men who couldn’t get proper sexual education in their adolescence, Sora Aoi became our teacher,” a 27-year-old male fan said, as quoted by the BBC.
“We grew up with your movies and will support you as always,” said another fan.
— 蒼井そら(SOLA AOI) (@aoi_sola) June 16, 2017
Another admirer on Weibo said: “You will always be my goddess… I wish you happiness.”
Aoi began her foray in pornography in the early 2000s, when the Internet penetration rate was increasing throughout China. Between 2003 and 2005, the Aoi starred in more than 90 films.
It is estimated that she had starred in more than 90 adult films, with new work being published every month between 2003 and 2005.
One of her fans told the BBC he used to watch and share porn featuring Aoi with the help of MP4 players when he was in high school. As time went by, her videos were easily available on porn streaming sites.
Aoi retired from the adult film world in 2011, redeveloping her career as a regular movie actress and singer.