'Only in Japan': a hackneyed phrase, certainly, though we can't think of many other countries where the groping of an all-female pop group for charity would be considered 'OK'. We're not talking about one porn star groping another here, either. This is something the general public is welcome to get involved in, organised as part of a 24-hour telethon by Japanese adult channel Paradise TV. Customers are encouraged to have a good squeeze, and any donation they choose to make during the event will be handed on to the Japan Foundation for AIDS Prevention.
The pop group in question is Marshmallow 3D, an 'idol unit' that, according to The Real Live Web, have hopes of becoming a popular pop sensation – although the fact that this particular 'jun ai' ('pure love') trio were put together by Paradise TV suggests that they might not be quite so innocent. Not that porn queens haven't dabbled in pop music before – Ebisu Muscats are perhaps the best recognised singing porn collective, having scored some genuine chart success in the past year.
The 'Erotics Save the Earth' event is now in its ninth year, and is something of a highlight on the annual adult calendar. Appearing alongside Marshmallow 3D will be a host of other J-porn notables, including Maki Azusa, who recently featured in our first ever Sex Issue. She tells us that hers will be a largely hands-off role: she's being employed this year as a 24-hour topless presenter.
Less glamourous, if last year was anything to go by, is the role of the rather lonesome adult actor who will let you fondle his testicles for as little as ¥1 (he doesn't get many offers, apparently).
The event has been covered in some depth by the ever vigilant Tokyo Reporter, whose website details other popular attractions from past events, including 'golden shower noodles' and a stall known as the 'Tekoki Jinja' ('Handjob Temple'), where eager participants pulled on a condom and payed ¥3,000 to have a professional porn star assist them. Each member had his, er, member seen to for three minutes max, and according to Tokyo Reporter, the woman working the booth boasted an 80 percent success rate.
Somewhat surprisingly, there's a serious side to all this. Condom use in Japan is plummeting, and full-blown AIDS cases are at an unprecedented high. With news of an untreatable gonorrhea strain reported recently, there's an increasing sense of the need to improve safe sex education here in Japan, and in the absence of decent educators, Japanese porn stars are taking some of the responsibility upon themselves. Hence 'Erotics Save the Earth', the porn star community's way of giving something back, raising a little cash for a cause that affects them directly.
Not that vast amounts of money can be made at the Handjob Temple. According to Tokyo Reporter, last year's Handjob Goddess managed to service 30 of her congregation before midday – not exactly money being made hand over fist (sorry). The real cash comes via live auctions of used underwear and televised phone-ins – this is a telethon, after all – in which the price of freshly worn panties is jacked higher and higher as the wearer is brought to orgasm, live on TV, by strangers on the other end of a phone. Last year the event raised over ¥2,000,000.
Only in Japan.
Click for more information on Erotics Save the Earth 2011, live from 7pm, Aug 20-8pm, Aug 21