Sunday 15 September 2019

Putin turns pin-up for young Japanese women

Vladimir Putin (stock photo)
Vladimir Putin (stock photo)

Danielle Demetriou

He cuddles puppies, cycles nonchalantly in shades and lowers his near-naked torso into icy waters. But perhaps less conventionally, Japan's latest calendar pin-up is no fresh-faced pop star: it's Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia.

Loft, a Japanese chain of lifestyle stores, has reported that calendars featuring the rugged, blue-eyed Russian president are flying off the shelves and eclipsing even its most popular domestic celebrities.

Sales of official 2019 Putin calendars containing a stream of testosterone-fuelled images of the 66-year-old president were reportedly in Loft's number one sales spot.

Following closely behind the unlikely political pin-up were calendars devoted to the thirty-something Japanese actor Kei Tanaka and, in third place, 24-year-old Olympic skating champion Yuzuru Hanyu.

The popularity of the ageing Russian president's calendars was reportedly fuelled by a surge in self-proclaimed "Putin fans" - mainly young Japanese women apparently seduced by his rugged charms.

One person who is perhaps unlikely to rush out to buy a calendar featuring Mr Putin in all his manly glory is Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Tensions continue to simmer between Japan and Russia thanks to a decades-long territorial dispute over a chain of islands, which is why the two nations have never signed a World War II peace treaty.

Irish Independent

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