Born in 1934, porn star Shigeo Tokuda has appeared in about 400 adult movies since leaving his job with a Tokyo-based travel agency in 2004. Tokuda – his stage name – is a rather unique addition to Japan’s booming “silver economy”, and according to Guinness World Records is the oldest working male porn star in the world.

Meet Japan’s 82-year-old porn star

He admits to be “slowing down” on the number of movies he makes now “because I am getting a bit older”, but he insists he will continue to accept parts for as long as his skill set is valued.

TWIA: How did you first become involved in adult videos?

Tokuda: When I was working for the travel agency, I used to go on a lot of business trips and I would have free time in the evenings. Sometimes I would watch porn movies in the hotels where I was staying. It was never my ambition to become a star in a porn movie, but there was one movie that I wanted to see but I could not find it anywhere, so I went to the office of the company that produced it. By chance, the director of the film was there and he asked if I wanted to appear in one of his titles. I refused, but I kept going back and eventually asked if I could watch a movie being filmed. The director said no, because it would make the actors uncomfortable and it was important that they were able to focus. It was then that I realised that these are hard-working, professional performers and I felt that I would like to try it.

Have you always been cast in roles at the ’silver’ end of the porn spectrum?

Tokuda: When I started I was only 59 years old so I was not really cast in roles for older people. Even so, there were not many actors of my age in the business and I have just continued from then.

Who are your viewers?

Tokuda: They are mostly middle-aged or older, and mostly men. Young people do not buy DVDs any more and they just watch movies on their smartphones, but not everyone in their 80s has a smartphone.

What is the hardest part of your job?

Tokuda: Female actresses are given information before they perform on the scenario, who it will be with and so on, but male actors are not told those details in advance. They only tell us when we get to the location. As soon as I find out what I have to do and who I will be with, I have to estimate the different actresses’ characteristics, to figure out what will work on film and all the other details required to make it a success. That is always a challenge.

Do you work better with young or older actresses?

Tokuda: I often find that I don’t have anything to talk about with the very young ones, so I prefer those who are in their mid-30s to their 50s. There are not many actresses who continue in the business after that age.

What motivates you to continue this work?

Tokuda: It’s very simple; I feel very grateful when I get a request to work on a particular film and when a director requests me to be the male lead. I take pride in my work and whenever I have an offer for a part I try my best to make sure I am available and to give a good performance. It is very nice to feel wanted for my skills and I will continue to work for as long as I am wanted.

How much longer do you think you will remain in the business?

Tokuda: I always thought that I would retire by 80, but here I am. I want to continue for as long as directors value my contribution. I plan to continue for as long as I am physically able to do the work.

How do you stay in shape for your roles?

Tokuda: I do not do anything in particular because I have always taken good care of my physical health. I do eat a lot of vegetables, fish and eggs and I don’t eat much meat. It’s not that I go out of my way to avoid meat, it is just that I prefer other things.

Are you married?

Tokuda: Yes, I am married and I have two children.

And do they know about your career as one of Japan’s most famous porn stars?

Tokuda: I have been able to keep it a secret. It has not been so hard, although there was a time a few years ago when it nearly came out. I was sent a script by fax and one of them saw it. Fortunately it had my stage name on it so I was able to explain it away – but that was close.