Sora Aoi posts a picture showing her wedding ring on her personal Sina Weibo account on Monday night. Photo: Sina Weibo
The marriage announcement of a Japanese porn star has stirred emotions on Chinese social media platforms and received overwhelming applause from the public, despite surging anti-Japanese sentiment.
Sexologists said it showed growing tolerance among Chinese toward sex-related industries, which have long been stigmatized.
Sora Aoi, who opened a Sina Weibo account on her 27th birthday in 2010 and has so far attracted 18 million followers, announced on the platform on Monday night that she has married a man, who is neither handsome nor rich but accepts her previous occupation.
"I have no regrets about my previous job, but I know it created a serious problem in getting married. So, he is great," said Aoi.
The announcement quickly went viral across Chinese social media platforms, with over 106,982 users reposting the message. Over 650,000 people liked the posts, and 140,000 had left comments as of press time.
While some attacked Aoi by being nasty, her announcement met wide support and good wishes. Some users argued that as shooting porn movies is legal in Japan "people could disagree but should at least show some respect."
"Despite the fact that there is a surging anti-Japanese sentiment in China, Aoi's friendliness toward the Chinese people won their acceptance and respect. Good wishes on her marriage showed that China is a tolerant society," Xu Jingbo, head of the Japan Bureau of the Asian News Agency, told the Global Times.
Fang Gang, a sexologist and sociologist at Beijing Forestry University, said that moral condemnation of the porn industry among Chinese is on the decrease. "People no longer stigmatize the porn industry but view it with a more open mindset."
However, experts pointed out that the changes do not mean that the sex industry in China will be legalized in the near future.
Peng Xiaohui, a sexology professor at Wuhan's Central China Normal University, said that there are still large numbers of people who enjoy porn in private but belittle the industry in public standing on a moral high ground.
China has been stepping up its efforts to crackdown on pornography. More than 2,500 websites were shut down in November 2016. In the latest crackdown, two popular news apps - Toutiao and Phoenix News - were ordered to temporarily suspend parts of their channels for "spreading pornographic and lewd information."