Sola Aoi (蒼井 そら Aoi Sora, literally Blue Sky)[3] is the stage name of a Japanese AV idol, nude model, and film and television actress. Her popularity as an adult video actress has led to celebrity status as a media personality in Japan and abroad.

Life and career

Early life and AV debut

Sola Aoi was born on November 11, 1983, in Tokyo. As a student, she worked at various part-time jobs in the food-service industry, such as pizza parlors, pubs and sushi bars[4] with the intent of becoming a pre-school teacher.[5] While in her third year in high school, Aoi was scouted in Shibuya by a talent agency for gravure modelling. She decided to enter the adult entertainment industry with the aim of eventually working on TV and in other parts of the entertainment industry, stating that "If there was only the AV industry, I couldn’t do it."[6]

When asked how her stage name was chosen, Aoi explained: "My agency asked what color I liked. I said blue [aoi in Japanese]. He also asked what I like in general. I said sky [sora in Japanese]. So, she chose Aoi Sora."[3]

Aoi appeared as a gravure idol in the June 2002 issue of Bejean[7] and then made her debut in adult videos (AV) at age eighteen in July 2002, with Happy Go Lucky! for the Alice Japan studio,[9] part of the Kuki Inc. group which was one of Japan's largest producers of pornography at the time.[10] The next month, she appeared in the AV The Blue Sky on the Samansa label for the Max-A studio, also part of the Kuki group.[2] For her video appearances in 2002, Aoi was awarded the Second Place Award as Best New Actress in the 2002 X City Grand Prix Awards.[2] Aoi continued making videos for both Alice Japan and Max-A for almost two-and-a-half years until late 2004.[14]

While continuing to perform in hardcore AVs, Aoi also appeared in the first video release of the Shuffle company's new label Believe. Entitled The Naked Body, this June 2003 release was an "image video", which has nude modeling but features no sex.[2]

Into mainstream entertainment

During this period, Aoi also started making appearances in mainstream media. In May 2003, she had a role in the theatrical release Gun Crazy 4: Requiem for a Bodyguard[2] and from July to December 2003, Aoi had a role in the TV Asahi J-dorama Tokumei Kakarichō Tadano Hitoshi.[17] For her starring role in the pink film, Tsumugi (制服美少女 先生あたしを抱いて Seifuku bishōjo: Sensei atashi wo daite), released to theaters in July 2004, Aoi was given a Best Actress Award at the 2004 Pink Grand Prix ceremony.[2] The film was ranked the fourth-best pink film release of the year.[19]

Aoi also starred in the October 2004 release of the manga-based theatrical thriller Stop the Bitch Campaign: Hell Version.[2][2] According to one reviewer of the June 2007 DVD release of the film: "The acting proves that Sora Aoi is no Dame Judi Dench but she is winsome enough to make you believe and care for her."[22]

In November 2004, Aoi left Alice Japan and Max-A to move to the newly formed studio, S1 No. 1 Style, part of the large Hokuto Corporation.[23] Her first video for S1, Sell Debut, was directed by Hideto Aki and released on November 11, 2004.[24] Aoi continued making about one video a month for S1 until mid-2006.[14] By this time, Aoi had become one of the most popular AV idols in Japan. Her name was the second most popular internet search on a female celebrity in Japan for 2005.[26]

Aoi's popularity enabled her to enter further into mainstream entertainment, including film, television and radio.[26] In early 2005, she starred as a high-school girl in director Keisuke Yoshida's film Raw Summer (なま夏 Nama-natsu).[27] The romantic comedy, released theatrically in Japan in January 2005, won the Grand Prize in the Off Theater Competition at the 2006 Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival where it was screened in February 2005.[28] Along with another AV idol, Akiho Yoshizawa, Aoi appeared in the late-night TV Tokyo manga-based production Jōō (嬢王) which aired in 12 episodes from October to December 2005.[6][29][31] Aoi later returned in a special guest appearance for the 2009 sequel to the show Jōō Virgin (嬢王 Virgin).[32]

In another venue, Aoi was one of several AV actresses asked by a small Japanese publisher to take photographs of themselves as "if the [toy] cameras [were] their boyfriends or undetestable stalkers". The result, Polgasun Aoisora, was warmly received by a reviewer for the journal European Photography, who wrote, "It would appear that in Polgasun she is trying to swap the wretchedness and banality of the pornography genre for intimacy and authenticity."[4]

By 2006, Aoi was appearing regularly on television, often appearing on variety shows and acting in several dramas[26] including the 2006 midnight-drama Shimokita GLORY DAYS (下北GLORY DAYS) along with fellow S1 actresses Yuma Asami and Honoka and singer-actress Aya Sugimoto. Aoi plays the character "Nozomi Ichimonji" in the manga-based series about a ronin student moving to Tokyo and sharing a house with several beautiful women.[34] She was also cast in the TV Asahi midnight drama Kaikan shokunin (快感職人) which aired from July to September 2006, and in late 2007 she was a guest star on the popular J-dorama detective show Galileo (ガリレオ).[35]

International celebrity

Aoi has remained at S1, but her work in adult videos has been irregular since mid-2006.[36] One of her S1 videos, Hyper Risky Mosaic – Special Bath House Tsubaki, with 11 other S1 actresses won the First Place Award at the 2007 AV Open contest.[4][4] In July 2011, S1 released a new work, Mega Semem Bukkake Facial,[4] but since then the studio has only published compilation videos for Aoi through late 2013.[36] The major Japanese adult video distributor DMM held a poll of its customers in late 2012 to choose the 100 all-time best AV actresses to celebrate the 30th anniversary of adult videos in Japan. Aoi was voted into 53rd place in the balloting.[4]

As a singer, Aoi put out a CD in 2006 titled "Hadaka no Kiss"[42] and along with several other AV and gravure idols, she was a member of the Ebisu Muskats,[4] a J-pop group originally formed on the late night TV show Onegai! Muscat (おねがい マスカット) in April 2008.[44]

Aoi traveled to Thailand for a part in a mainstream Thai teen movie, Hormones (Pid Term Yai, Hua Jai Waa Wun), released in March 2008. She plays a Japanese tourist who brings one character to the brink of infidelity to his girlfriend. Hormones won the Jury's Special Prize at the fourth Asian Marine Film Festival in Japan which journalist Wise Kwai ascribed to Aoi's presence.[45]

Aoi made her debut in another Asian entertainment market when she appeared in a Korean TV drama Korean Classroom in May 2009. The four-part series follows three Japanese girls traveling to Korea and co-stars fellow AV Idols Mihiro and Rio. Aoi was subsequently scheduled to appear on several Korean variety shows while in Korea to promote the series.[46] Back in Japan, Aoi starred as a zombie-killing stripper in director Takao Nakano's May 2010 comedy horror film Big Tits Zombie, a film adaption of the cult manga Kyonyū Dragon.[47][48][49] Later that year Aoi was in Hong Kong starring in the erotic thriller Revenge: A Love Story which reached theaters in December 2010.[50]

In late April 2010, Aoi's Twitter account was discovered by many Chinese netizens, despite the social networking site's typically being inaccessible in China. Fans of the AV model began distributing software allowing them to bypass the censorship of Twitter.[51] Following the 2010 Yushu earthquake in China's Qinghai Province, Sola Aoi announced that she would raise funds to donate to the earthquake victims.[52] This was received by a mixed response by Chinese netizens, with some praising her help and others finding it unseemly.[53] In November 2010, she opened a microblog on Sina Weibo, China's most popular domestic microblog service, posting in Japanese, English, and Chinese.[54] In her first six hours on Sina Webo, she attracted 130,000 followers[54] and by September 2012 that figure had risen to more than 13 million.[55] Her sizable following in China has also led to her debut as a singer in Mandarin Chinese with the song "mao yi" (毛衣 or Sweater) which was released digitally for mobile phone and computer download.[42]

In April 2011, Aoi had a starring role in the Indonesian horror movie Suster Keramas 2 (Shampooing or Evil Nurse 2), making her the third Japanese AV actress to appear in Indonesian films recently. (The others being Rin Sakuragi in the original Suster Keramas and Maria Ozawa, known in Indonesia as "Miyabi", in the 2009 film Kidnapping Miyabi.[56]) The earlier films, although very successful, engendered protests from conservative Muslim groups in Indonesia, so Aoi's trip to Indonesia and participation in the film were kept secret.[56] Aoi said that working in Indonesia gave her pause but she wanted to expand her mainstream career and that she was "really looking forward to coming into contact with foreigners and engaging in communication."[56]

Aoi's high profile in China has also led to controversy, exemplified by the taunts and insults directed towards her because of her plea in September 2012 for a peaceful solution to the Senkaku Islands dispute between Japan and China.[55] In May 2013, a "culture war" ensued when a work of calligraphy created by Aoi as a guest promoting a theme park in Ningbo, China in April 2013 was reportedly auctioned for $95,000. A government-backed newspaper called the calligraphy "childish", her fans supported her, and many considered the auction simply a publicity stunt by the theme park.

In May 5, 2012, it was reported that Aoi would be debuting in South Korea as a singer and actress and would be cast in a future Korean movie, titled Vacance.

Filmography

Adult videos

Gravure videos

Nude modeling only

Naked / Sora Aoi
裸体 蒼井そら
Shuffle Believe
SFLB-001
June 25, 2003
Naked 2 / Sora Aoi
裸体 蒼井そら#2
Shuffle Believe
SFLB-009
Kosuke KisaragiFebruary 25, 2004
Asian Beauty Vol. 1Adult Source MediaKosuke KisaragiFebruary 15, 2007English subtitled version of Naked 2 / Sora Aoi
Asian Beauty Vol. 3Adult Source MediaFebruary 15, 2007English subtitled version of Naked / Sora Aoi

TV drama

TitleNetworkCharacterDateNotes
Tokumei Kakarichō Tadano Hitoshi[17]
特命係長 只野仁
TV Asahi2003-07-04 (Episode 1)11 episodes
(2003-07-04 to 2003-09-19)
Mystery Minzoku Gakusha Yakumo Itsuki[57][59]
ミステリー民俗学者八雲樹
(Mystery Folklore Scholar Yakumo Itsuki)
TV AsahiAnna Nikaido2004-10-29 (Episode 3)
Jyouou
嬢王
TV TokyoNikaido Arisa2005-10-07 to 2005-12-2312 episodes
Shimokita GLORY DAYS[34]
下北GLORY DAYS
TV TokyoNozomi Ichimonji2006-04-14 to 2006-07-0812 episodes
Kaikan Shokunin[61]
快感職人
TV Asahi2006-07-08 to 2006-09-2310 episodes
Released as a DVD 2006-11-22[62]
Galileo[35]
ガリレオ
Fuji TVReiko Shinozaki2007-11-05 (Episode 4)

V-Cinema

Title[66]CompanyDirectorRelease DateNotes
High School Teacher
高校教師 飼育の校舎
Koukou Kyoushi Shiiku no Kousha
EngelHiroshi AndoNovember 25, 2003Role: Miyako/Kumiko
Erotic Ghost: Siren
新妖女傳說 Siren
Shin Youjo Densetsu Siren
Satoshi ToraoOctober 22, 2004Role: Yumi
Hotaru The Hyper Swindler Series Vol. 3
新だまし屋本舗・蛍 ~おいしいバイトにご用心~
Shin Damashi Ya Honpo・Hotaru ~Oishii Baito ni go Youjin~
Nextacv
NEXD-011
Nisato TakeshiNovember 4, 2005Role: Hotaru Amami
Hotaru The Hyper Swindler Series Vol. 4
新だまし屋本舗・蛍 ~ペーパー商法にご用心~
Shin Damashi Ya Honpo・Hotaru ~Peepaa Shouhou ni go Youjin~
Nextacv
NEXD-014
Nisato TakeshiDecember 7, 2005Role: Hotaru Amami
Kunoichi 5 ninshū Vs. Onna Dragon Shūdan
くの一五人衆VS女ドラゴン集団
Tanigaki KenjiOctober 25, 2005
Hotaru The Hyper Swindler Series Vol. 5
新だまし屋本舗・蛍 ~美容詐欺を撲滅せよ~
Shin Damashi Ya Honpo・Hotaru ~Biyou Sagi o Bokumetsu Seyo~
Nextacv
NEXD-025
Nisato TakeshiJuly 5, 2006Role: Hotaru Amami
Hotaru The Hyper Swindler Series Vol. 6
新だまし屋本舗・蛍 ~フランチャイズ詐欺を撲滅せよ~
Shin Damashi Ya Honpo・Hotaru ~Furanchaizu Sagi o Bokumetsu Seyo~
Nextacv
NEXD-024
Nisato TakeshiAugust 4, 2006Role: Hotaru Amami
Play Angels Vol. 1
プレイエンジェル Vol. 1
Nisato TakeshiJuly 11, 2007Role: Anna
Play Angels Vol. 2
プレイエンジェル Vol. 2
Nisato TakeshiFebruary 6, 2008Role: Anna
My Sassy Girl
蒼空
Aozora[67]
Jojo HideoSeptember 22, 2008Role: Anna
Sora Aoi wrote the screenplay for Aozora.[68]

Theatrical releases

TitleCompanyDirectorRelease DateNotes
Gun Crazy: Episode 4
GUN CRAZY Episode4 用心棒の鎮魂歌
Gun Crazy Episode4 Youjinbou no Rekuiemu
Pioneer LDC / Japan Home VideoAtushi MurogaMay 10, 2003Role: Maria
Heat
HEAT 灼熱
Shakunetsu
KSSTakeshi YokoiFebruary 14, 2004
Tsumugi (AKA Uniform Beauty: Shag Me Teacher!)Kokuei / Shintōhō EigaHidezaku TakaharaJuly 27, 2004Role: Tsumugi Yamane
Love Twisted
ともしび
Tomoshibi
Euro Space (ーロスペース)Ryouko YoshidaAugust 21, 2004Role: Yuko Yajima
Stop the Bitch Campaign: Hell Version
援助交際撲滅運動 地獄変
Enjo-Kousai Bokumetsu Undou: Jigoku-hen
King Records/ OmuroKosuke SuzukiOctober 2, 2004Role: Aoi
Raw Summer
なま夏
Nama-Natsu
Powercat EntertainmentKeisuke YoshidaJanuary 28, 2005Role: Anko
Man, Woman & The Wall
聴かれた女
Kikareta Onna No Mirareta Yoru
Masashi YamamotoApril 15, 2006Role: Satsuki
Memories of MatsukoToho / TBSTetsuya NakashimaMay 27, 2006
Irokoishi 2: Roaming in Hokkaido
艶恋師 北海道 放浪編
Irokoishi: Hokkaidō Hourou Hen
Yūji TajiriJanuary 28, 2008Role: Ayumi
Tear Jar
泪壺
Namida Tsubo
Art Port
(アートポート)
Takahisa ZezeMarch 1, 2008Role:
Hormones
ปิดเทอมใหญ่ หัวใจว้าวุ่น
Pit Thoem Yai Hua Chai Wawun
GMM Tai HubSongyos Sugmakanan20 March 2008Role: Aoi
Gekijoban S to M
SとM 劇場版
United Entertainment
(ユナイテッド・エンタテインメント)
Yutaka ŌgiMarch 13, 2010Role: Sakiko Tsuboi
Big Tits ZombieTMC (Total Media Corporation)Takao NakanoMay 15, 2010
Torso
トルソ
Toruso
TransformerYutaka YamazakiJuly 10, 2010
Revenge: A Love Story
Fuk sau che chi sei
Wong Ching-poDecember 2, 2010Role: Wing
Suster keramas 2Maxima PicturesFindo PurwonoApril 21, 2011Role: Sachiko
Three Points
スリー★ポイント
Suri pointo
Ley LineMasashi YamamotoMay 14, 2011Role: Saki
The Egoists
軽蔑
Keibetsu
Kadokawa PicturesRyuichi HirokiJune 4, 2011
I FINE..THANK YOU..LOVE YOU
ไอฟาย..แต๊งกิ้ว..เลิฟยู้
GMM Tai HubMez TharatornDecember 10, 2014Role: Kaya
Lazy Hazy Crazy
同班同學
Bravo Pictures / Sun CultureLuk Yee-sumOctober 29, 2015

Photobooks

English title[69]Japanese titleRelease date
Lovepara Unmeiらぶぱら 運命May 10, 2003
Lovex 07 Sora AoiLovex 07 蒼井そらNovember 22, 2003
Karami 21 Sora AoiKarami 21 蒼井そらMarch 10, 2004