Japanese Star Punches Hole in China’s Great Firewall

CHINESE CYBERSPACE—Similar to its brick-and-mortar cousin, which was erected to keep the invading hordes out, the Great Firewall of China exists to keep invading ideas and images out. While to many it may seem as intimidating and secure a structure as the real Wall, all it took to shake the digital edifice to its foundation was a single incursion. The action that hastened the larger cataclysm happens thousands of times a day around the world. A girl opened a Twitter account. It’s what happened next that put the world on notice and China on edge.

The girl, Japanese adult and mainstream star Sola Aoi, opened her Twitter account on March 30. By April 11, word had reached the Chinese mainland that her handle existed, and in no time she had 30,000 followers, the vast majority of whom were Chinese, according to news reports. In fact, media outlets around the world have been pouncing on this story, with most interpreting it as symbolic of China’s inevitably doomed attempt to erect the un-erectable. Put another way, it has proven that some erections are no match for others.

Sola Aoi, 27, has performed in both softcore adult and mainstream films in Japan for several years. The AVN database lists one film for her, Asian Beauty, released in 2006, and using a transposed name for the star. Only 22 at the time of its release, the synopsis says, she already had a large following in Japan.

“Sola Aoi, also known as Sora Aoi, is a very well known and popular model and softcore porn actress in Japan,” it reads. “Noted for her young looks, hot body and innocent demeanor, Sola shocked the Japanese industry when she began acting in movies with harsher overtones such as bondage and rape. This DVD, however, personifies Sola's softer side. Whether its poolside, playfully splashing the camera, trying on various outfits in a very bubbly, girly way, or teasingly exposing her breasts and butt, Sola knows how to seduce the camera and the viewer.”

That seductive power obviously remains just as potent today. Looking not a day older than she did in 2006, Sola is apparently a cult figure among young Chinese men, the sector of the population most likely to have no problem breaching the Great Firewall. Access to Twitter in China is blocked by the Firewall, of course, but that hasn’t stopped untold numbers of citizens from finding their way through it, over it, under it, whatever they have to do in order to interact with Sola. That fact alone has some people arguing that the Sola Affair is an historic event.

Earlier this month, the Asian beauty replied to her Chinese fans, acknowledging the many people who had signed up to follow her on Twitter.

“First of all I need to thank the fans who have tweeted about me on Twitter, as well as those who visited my blog,” she wrote. “Thank you for all your support. Usually I update my personal blog in Chinese by using a translation tool (often Chinese netizens tell me that the Chinese reads weirdly). So this time I asked a netizen to help me translate this into Chinese, in order to express my thanks to all my Chinese fans in a clearer way.

“The ‘Twitter incident’ has caused reverberations in China and Japan,” she continued. “Speaking truthfully, this was a little unexpected, even for me. Speaking ‘without modesty,’ I know that there are some Aoi fans in Asia. But when I directly faced the figures on Twitter, I could hardly hide my surprise. Thanks everybody for tweeting about me.”

Sola concluded her message to China by suggesting a future congregation that will no doubt send shivers up the collective spine of Chinese officials.

“When will I be able to meet my Chinese fans,” she asked, rhetorically. “To hold a fan club meeting in China? It sounds like a good idea, and worthy of my anticipation! When the time comes, remember to come and show your support!”