Tamako’s monthly salary was 50,000 yen.Emma Ebihara and Tamako Hina (both pseudonyms) are popular gravure models who entered the entertainment industry when they were scouted on the street. They have been appearing in the gravure pages of major magazines since their mid-teens, and have been active as Miss Cont finalists and image girls. In this program, these two women, who are well versed in the industry, talk about the truth of the evil filled gravure world. The theme of the third installment is “Gradol and Money”.
Emma: This time we are going to talk about money.
Tamako: I think we are paid better than models.
Emma: It depends on the agency. If you release one DVD, you can get 500,000 to 600,000 yen if you are a successful model, but my agency paid me 100,000 yen because they also paid me a monthly salary.
Tamako: I was on a salary system for the first two years. I was in high school. When I joined the office, they asked me, “How much do you want?” I said “50,000 yen,” as if it were a part-time job, as long as I only had to pay for my cell phone and transportation. (Laughs) After that, I got busier and busier, and I had to buy my own costumes, and I thought, “That’s not enough!”
Emma: You had to buy your own costumes?
Tamako: Well, there were times when I had to buy my own costumes, like the dress I wore to the DVD release event. Sometimes the production team would provide the costumes, and sometimes they would not. Kodansha, Shueisha, and Kobunsha provided them.
Emma: I like Asagei (Asahi Geino, published by Tokuma Shoten). They finish shooting early.
Tamako: The two magazines that shoot quickly are Asagei and Shukan Jitsuwa.
Emma: I would say that Asagei is the best in terms of overall strength. The editor-in-chief is kind and thinks of us first.
Tamako: The catering is wonderful.
Emma: They look up what we like and buy it for us; for example, if we write on social networking sites that we like quail, they have quail tempura on hand.
Tamako: The catering is gorgeous, even though it’s only an hour or two of filming.
Emma: They always say “Thank you very much.” They are very considerate of the talent.
Tamako: I liked the location shoots for YANMAGA (Kodansha’s “Young Magazine”).
Emma: The costumes provided by YANMAGA were very cute.
Tamako: They were willing to go to great expense. I liked the “let’s have fun” feeling. In some inconsiderate magazines, the cost is limited to 500 yen per person. For a production company called (name of magazine), the lunch is cup noodles. Evening meal is like a set menu from a restaurant. The shooting is mentally demanding, but they don’t even let you have a good meal. But at YANMAGA, you can buy whatever you want as souvenirs. It was really fun.
Emma: What about TV? I did a few variety shows, but I can’t speak, after all (laughs).
Tamako: The pay wasn’t good either. It was something like 10,000 yen a piece. Even when I appeared on “Godtan” (TV Tokyo) or other physical variety shows, I think the pay was 100,000 yen or so.
Emma: I often appeared as a barter for one of my seniors in the office, but I was paid on a monthly basis.
Tamako: The photo shoots held by the office were nothing but depressing.
Emma: Photo shoots are tiring, aren’t they?
Tamako: How much do you get paid? I was paid 60%.
Emma: Seriously? I was paid 100,000 yen for the whole time. Then, when the work started to decrease, the office said, “Let’s change to a commission system.” Isn’t that terrible? (laughs)
Tamako: How did you make a living?
Emma: I didn’t have any material desires.
Tamako: I’m not talking about greed.100,000 yen is impossible, isn’t it?
Emma: I worked part-time.
Tamako: You didn’t ask for a raise?
Emma: I couldn’t say that. I know there are girls who do.
Tamako: I did. The policy of the office was no part-time work, so I said, “If the salary is this low and part-time work is not allowed, I can’t make a living. I told them, “Please raise the percentage I get,” or “Please make it fixed plus a percentage.”
Emma: The office would only do what would benefit them, so they would say that those who could make more money on commission would be paid on a salary basis. I was earning 100,000 yen a month no matter what I did. I was selling reasonably well, so I released a DVD every three months. I also did events and photo shoots every other month for 100,000 yen. What kind of hard work is that?
Tamako: That’s crazy. It makes me angry because I have a general idea of what kind of work I do and how much I get paid for it.
Emma: How much of the expenses were paid out?
Tamako: Sometimes the office will pay for costumes if I’m doing well. If I negotiate directly with the president, he will sometimes pay for it. I would say to the president, “I bought this,” and he would say, “Oh, okay. Managers don’t do that.”
Emma: My family paid for the gym.
Tamako: And then there is the hairdresser’s fee.
Tamako: They also paid for my qualifications. For example, bookkeeping.
Emma: They treat you differently depending on who you are. The ones who go for it the hardest get the best.
Tamako: You shouldn’t be taken for a fool.
Emma: I was taken for granted.
Tamako: At my friend’s office, once a month, the boss would buy a bag for the girl who made the most sales. He would call the top three or four in order of sales, go to Isetan, and ask them to choose the bag of their choice. My friend said, “Isn’t this for tax purposes?” But I suspected that she was having an affair with the president of the company. She always has a nice bag. She’s not a big seller at all.
Emma ：Truly, gradol girls are taken for fools (laughs).