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Morning Musume's Sayumi Meets Gravure idol legend Natsuki Okamoto

Youth is at a premium in Japan. Video game characters are often in their teens (or younger). And in candy-coated world of idols, girls start young. But decade after decade, there's been one pin-up who keeps on keeping on: 45-year-old Natsuki Okamoto. And there's a reason for that. She puts out.

Not to be confused with Natsuki Okamoto of Siren and TV fame, Okamoto claims to be "Japan's oldest pin-up model", and she might very well be (though, one day Aki Hoshino might eclipse her lengthly career). Like many Japanese celebrities, Okamoto appears on variety programs, and has since the mid-1980s, but also shows up at launches for new electronics, services, and, yes, video games.

Earlier this year, she appeared at a launch for a DS title directed at those caring for the elderly. At 45, but still looking younger than her years, Okamoto's appearance made sense; she referenced her own age when introducing the title.

Okamoto is now a "mature lady" or "jukujo", appealing to those who either remember the 1980s or have mother issues they're working through. As an older pin-up model, Okamoto represents the graying of Japan—and she does it in high heels and revealing outfits.

Never one to disappoint, Okamoto showed up at the event in a racy swimsuit that harked back to her days during the late 1980s and early 1990s as a "sexy idol". During that period, a series of thong-wearing models and celebrities, such as former porn star Ai Iijima and singer Aya Sugimoto, were unabashed in their sexuality and embodied the excesses of the Japanese bubble economy.

This week, Okamoto popped up at a promotional event for free-to-play MMORPG Dragon Nest with singer Sayumi Michishige of popular girl group Morning Musume. Michishige is even doing voice acting work for the Japanese version, and along with Okamoto, appeared dressed in Dragon Nest cosplay.

While Okamoto's made a career of playing up her sexuality, Michishige has made one downplaying explicit sexuality and relying on her cuteness. Morning Musume, the group Michishige belongs to, has kicked out members for smoking or having boyfriends. But as one of the Morning Musume's longest standing members, it might be time for the 22-year-old to move on. But what's next?

With appearances on countless showing and working with big names like Takeshi Kitano, Okamoto's been around the block. Michisige traded barbs and jokes, but did ask Okamoto what advice she had for a long career in entertainment.

"Michishige, if you're going to be in this business another ten years, then you have no choice but to put out!" Okamoto said wryly (via Mycom) at the Dragon Nest event. "Thanks to me sleeping around for gigs, I've worked in entertainment industry for 25 years."

Even though the remark was passed off as a quip to arouse laughter, it is a frank, and somewhat sad, assessment of the male dominated entertainment industry. I wonder what Okamoto will be doing for the next 25 years—I mean who Okamoto will be doing.

source: Kotaku

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Kept the most interting part outside of the cut. I thought this may be an intersting artical about older women in the Idol industry. Frankly I admire Okamoto's honesty.

Edit: Sorry the formatting on this keeps screwing up D:
Tags: gravure/av, hello!project, morning musume
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