By Yuan-Ming Chiao, The China Post
TAIPEI, Taiwan — The EasyCard Corp. (悠遊卡公司) defended its decision yesterday to have a veteran actress in Japanese adult films appear on upcoming contactless smartcards covers on the island starting next month. The actress in question, Yui Hatano (波多野結衣), 27, has filmed over 1,200 adult-themed videos, and will appear in an EasyCard series called “Demons and Angels,” which will be released on Sept. 1. Around 30,000 copies will be available for sale and the proceeds from the limited edition set will go to charitable foundations. In a press conference, EasyCard stated that Hatano was not an “official sponsor” representing the company but rather she was first photographed by a Taiwanese photographer and the images were later authorized by her media agency. The company described the images of Hatano represented a “healthy aesthetic” consisting of no inappropriate or suggestive material. It also urged customers not to make certain “associations.” However, several netizens contradicted the company’s claims, saying that one of the images of the forthcoming “Demons and Angels” series was not an original, but taken from the video image cover of a work previously completed by Hatano. Several media outlets have already confirmed that the image corresponds to a video that was released in July 2014. In a press statement released later in the evening, the company confirmed that it was replacing one of the card covers with another image. Asked by reporters if he knew about the company’s decision, Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) replied: “Who is she?”
The mayor laughed jovially when asked whether he found the images too racy. Ko appeared skeptical about the marketing strategy of EasyCard co-Chairman Tai Chi-chuan (戴季全), saying that 65 to 75 percent of EasyCard users were female. Stating that it was up to Tai to handle this situation, he also reminded the corporate leader that “sales increases are not everything.”
“Not sure what game he (Tai) is playing here,” Ko added.
According to a report that appeared in Next Magazine yesterday, employees of EasyCard held “morning brainstorming sessions” on formulating ideas for a new corporate sponsor. After the idea was pitched to Tai who found it special, the company negotiated with the Japanese actress on a deal. The company estimates that it currently has issued over 54 million cards. An EasyCard spokeswoman stated that the covers would most likely be “collected” instead of being put into use. The EasyCard set featuring Hatano will go on sale on Sept. 1, with each two-card set retailing for NT$500.