Tristan Junker is from Düsseldorf in Germany, a city that’s home to the largest Japanese community in Europe. As a result, he was exposed to the Japanese language and culture from a young age, which inspired him to live in Japan. He’s now been here for more than 10 years and started his own company. It’s called Kaikoku.

Kaikoku is a business that provides marketing services for foreign companies entering Japan, or Japanese businesses targeting overseas audiences. The company specializes  in anime, as well as gravure and Japanese adult video (JAV) models.

“I spent a year at Hosei University in Tokyo to study business administration,” Junker tells us. “When I graduated, I was able to secure a job with a wholesale anime goods company. I became very close to my boss, and we frequently had drinks together to talk about the future. I said that I wanted to start my own company one day, and he told me about all the difficulties I would face.

“He wasn’t wrong,” continues Junker while laughing. “But he supported my decision and said that his company could be my company’s first client. This was how Kaikoku started in 2017 and, indeed, the first few years were a big struggle.”

kaikoku gravure idol japan

Introducing Kaikoku

Kaikoku originally started off as a social media solutions agency, with a focus on content creation, ranging from English articles to video work. It also helps Japanese companies run their English social media channels and manage paid digital platforms such as Google Ads. Good Smile Company, a well-known Japanese manufacturer of hobby products, is a client of Kaikoku.

It wasn’t until Junker met his business partner, Matt Pellizzari, the owner of cosplay YouTube channel Rescue The Princess, that the two started to conceive the idea of working with cosplayers and models. 

“In Japan, one of the most popular subscription platforms is called Fantia. It’s a bit like OnlyFans except the interface and user experience is all Japanese. We went to a lot of events that had cosplayers who were only using this platform and could not reach their foreign fan base,” explains Junker. “So together we thought, why don’t we help models produce content for the international market?” 

tristan junker kaikoku

Strategic Insight

Kaikoku now offers full-service marketing tailored to its modeling clients. This means it can do everything from organizing photo shoots for content to translating and localizing written text and even running a model’s Instagram and OnlyFans pages. It can also provide strategic insight into social platforms, understanding that western audiences might demand different types of content compared to Japanese audiences.

“We look at what’s popular on platforms like OnlyFans,” says Junker. “Not just what others post but the style of posts, how a video gets edited and shot and so on. Recently, like TikTok and YouTube, we’re seeing a lot of short form content. It could be a model taking a shower or cooking with an apron. Audiences seem to like these little sequences instead of a full length production.”

Trust is everything in Junker’s line of work. A client who is satisfied with the service is more likely to introduce Kaikoku to friends in the industry.

“We know most of the key players in this space,” says Junker. “Models who are signed to an agency may have their agency do similar things that we do, such as managing deals and running their platform. In return, the revenue split can be anywhere from 50-50 to 80-20, where the model is only getting 20%. For our business model, we work with freelance models, and we only take up to 30%.”

The Power of Social Platforms

Kaikoku’s goal is to create an industry where more adult models will feel financially secure enough to freelance. This gives models greater freedom in who they want to work with, rather than being tied to one agency that may only specialize in a specific activity such as DVDs or magazine work. There are also known horror stories where models lose access to their social media accounts or are banned from adult work for a few years due to unfair contractual terms. This doesn’t even account for incidents involving sexual harassment that often occur in this industry.

“Social platforms have taken a lot of power away from large corporations,” continues Junker. “Adult models can now earn enough money through their fan-supported sites. They can make this money from home if they want, producing content that they themselves want to create without pressure from anyone.”

Kaikoku now has eight full-time staff members and one part-timer with an overall female majority. The company works with around 50 different models, some of which are gravure and some of which are JAV actors. The difference between the two genres refers to the explicitness of their sexual content. But Junker and his team are also mindful that boundaries between each model are also unique, and it’s important to empathize with how far they are willing to go.

“Shoots in Japan can be fun and creative thanks to the number of unique studios and hotels that you can film at,” states Junker. “Most other countries would just have your regular hotel rooms. Here you can have all kinds of weird fantasy sets, like classrooms or even a train-themed room. There’s a famous hotel in Shibuya that has a bath-tub that can be filled with chocolate bath water.”

tristan junker kaikoku

Increasing JAV Content

In 2024, Junker hopes that Kaikoku can continue to level-up its content to help its current clients and, hopefully, get a few more too. He’s also planning to produce more content around the adult industry, such as in-depth interviews, so overseas audiences get an insider’s perspective on the industry.

There’s talk of starting an e-commerce site for digital and physical products, so models can sell merchandise while Kaikoku takes care of translation, marketing and shipping. Junker also has a personal dream to host a photo event where fans can book time slots to meet their favorite adult models and take photos with them. 

“A model can make more than half of their monthly earnings at events like this,” he says. “However, agencies that offer this service usually take 50% just for creating a website and booking a space. I believe we can do it better and create an event where models take 100% of their earnings home.” 

On the internet, Junker also goes by another moniker. His community calls him Lucky Bro.

“We have a company YouTube channel called Around Akiba and in the videos I’m often surrounded by cosplay girls. In response, the comments would always say, ‘You’re so lucky bro.’ I thought it was quite funny, so I adopted it. It’s ironic, because to get to where I am there’s no such thing as luck. I don’t believe in it. It took years of hard work.”

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