Sora Aoi attends a press conference in Shanghai. The Japanese porn star launched her Sina Weibo account on Nov. 11, 2010, Chinese Singles Day. (File Photo/CFP)
Sora Aoi takes a bubble bath in a picture posted on her microblog. (Courtesy of MP Entertain)
As soon as Japanese porn star Sora Aoi opened her Sina Weibo account (appropriately enough on Nov. 11, 2010, Chinese Singles Day), she immediately became one of the hottest bloggers in China. In the world of the microblog, the attention focused on the adult actress is such that she is now listed as no. 1 on polls of the most influential microbloggers.
Aoi posted only a single short notice on her first day on Sina Weibo, China's equivalent of Twitter. The post read: "Hello to all Chinese friends, I'm Sora Aoi. Very pleased to meet you all. I have officially opened my Sina Weibo account, hopefully through this account we can get to know each other well."
In her first six hours, Aoi had gained more than 130,000 followers, exceeding her numbers on Twitter. By the end of the first day, she had 220,000 followers. Since then, she has accumulated more than 950,000 followers in just two months; a number which continues to increase at a rate of over 10,000 per day.
Sora Aoi first rose to online fame when a Chinese netizen discovered her account on Twitter and shared it on Sina Weibo. "Do you want to be face to face with Sora Aoi? Then go onto Twitter. Can't get on Twitter? Then send email to firstname.lastname@example.org, it has auto reply." Clearly, not all Chinese netizens who leap the Great Firewall are political dissidents.
The adult actress subsequently decided to join Sina Weibo after a flood of Chinese followers found her on Twitter.
Even China's police have been paying close attention to Sora Aoi's microblog, with the online blog of a police station in Dalian making her blog their main item of interest.
Sora Aoi's online presence is controversial in a country where pornography is illegal but also extremely popular. In fact, more and more foreign stars — of all professions, but especially Taiwanese pop stars — are using Weibo to connect to an eager Chinese audience.
The reason for her popularity on the blog, according to media reports, is that she entertains but never spams. She broadcasts but also listens and engages. Most importantly, her posts are clearly authentically from her rather than a hired PR gun.
One of her posts said, "I know Chinese don't understand Japanese, so I try to write in English. But when I wrote in Japanese, I can't translation in English. SORRY!!"
She has also expressed her respect for Chinese culture and gained further popularity when she appealed to followers on her Twitter account to donate to people affected by the deadly earthquake in Qinghai province in western China in April 2010.
Naturally, another crucial factor may be the daily renewal of the actress's photos.
Many celebrities view Sina Weibo as a one-way channel of communication but Aoi interacts with her fans in ways that win their continued loyalty.
There are tens of thousands of porn stars out there, but no other can boast nearly a million fans on Sina Weibo. Sora Aoi has clearly made the most of her opportunity.