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Jun 23, 2009
via Photographers' Blog

Never too old to be a porn star

Audio slideshow produced by Toru Hanai and Kim Kyung-hoon. A full story is listed below.ICHIKAWA, Japan – He is a typical man of age — a few white hairs cover his round head and he wears dentures.But 75-year-old Shigeo Tokuda sat on a movie set on Monday wearing just a silk kimono and loin cloth about to have sex on film with a woman who is younger than his daughter.Tokuda is Japan’s oldest pornographic movie star and was shooting his latest film in which he portrayed a master of sex.The director said the films showed people that their sex lives did not have to end with old age, and in 16 years of making such movies Tokuda has acted up with women ranging from their 20s to as old as himself.”I debuted at 59, and have played in more than 200 porno movies since then,” he said, using his screen name, not his real one in an interview on the set.”I wanted to challenge what ordinary people did not, so I decided to be a porno actor.”In Monday’s film he used vibrators, whips and candle lights to show the master satisfying a 36-year-old actress. The film was not scripted.Tokuda turned to the pornographic industry late. He lived a typical Japanese office worker’s life as a travel agent after graduating from one of Tokyo’s elite colleges.The career sideline came about because he was unsatisfied with a lack of story lines in sex movies he’d seen, which led to a discussion with a film producer about whether he could do better.It took a couple of years of thinking about it but Tokuda eventually took his pants off for the camera.Since then, he has became a popular figure in porn movies for rent in Japan, with its rapidly ageing population and long life expectancy. One in five Japanese is over 65 years old.”Other old men think they can do it because he can. The elderly can feel secure and encouragement when they see his films,” said Gaichi Kono, the director of Tokuda’s latest film.Japan’s elderly are rejecting the idea that growing old means slowing down, said Chineko Araki, a professor of social welfare from Den-en Chofu University.”More than 50 percent of men over 65 are eager to have a sexual relationship with their partners,” she said in an email interview.Tokuda’s films will soon be offered to Japanese retirement homes, exports beckon and they may be shown on the Internet.Tokuda says his wife and daughter pretend not to know and his friends will never guess.”But my job makes me keep alive,” he says, adding he plans to keep going at least till he hits 80 years old.

May 18, 2009
via Photographers' Blog

Last gift for dying dogs

SAPPORO, Japan – Retirement can be a death knell for guide dogs, creatures who spend their lives caring for others, but a home in Japan is giving these canines a new lease on life in their twilight years. The Sapporo Retirement Home for Dogs, in the northern island of Hokkaido, has sheltered more than 200 animals since it opened in 1978, giving them the best possible care until they are either adopted by sighted humans or die.

“This is the last gift we can give these dogs who worked for people all their life,” said the home’s director Keiko Tsuji as she caressed the coat of Rick, a dog who is now paralyzed due to old age and can only feed from a tube. “Most of these dogs only live for 2 or 3 years after their retirement, and I want them to live comfortably for the rest of their lives,” she added.

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      "Kim Kyung-Hoon studied photojournalism at a university in South Korea before beginning his career at a local newspaper. In 2002 he joined Reuters' bureau in Seoul as a staff photographer and is currently based in Beijing after working for six years in the Tokyo bureau. He has covered a range of stories from the daily spot news, political news and disaster stories to sports events."
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