|The story below is originally published on Mainichi Daily News by Mainichi Shinbun (http://mdn.mainichi.jp).|
|They admitted inventing its kinky features, or rather deliberately mistranslating them from the original gossip magazine.|
|In fact, this is far from the general Japanese' behavior or sense of worth.|
Curtain draws on Self-Defense Force stripper who plugged for peace 2006,02,02
Shukan Asahi 2/10 By Ryann Connell
Tomomi Sawaguchi made her name for getting into a military uniform, but she really became a star when she got out of it, judging by Shukan Asahi (2/10).
But leukemia cut down Sawaguchi in the prime of her life, eventually claiming her last month aged just 44.
Sawaguchi became known across Japan for being the Self-Defense Force stripper, a title she earned following a stint in Japan's psuedo-military changing truck gears before a successful period on the stage, where this time she was getting her gear off.
Sawaguchi the SDF Stripper was born in the Hiroshima Prefecture port city of Kure, but left her hometown for Tokyo at 18. She joined the SDF shortly afterward and quickly married and had a kid, but divorced at 26.
While strolling around the seedy Tokyo entertainment district of Ikebukuro one day in the late '80s, a "talent scout" picked her up and introduced her to the world of stripping, where she quickly made a name for herself.
"As far as I know, Sawaguchi was the first performer to bring 'nyotaimori,' or the serving of food on a naked woman's body, onto the stripping stage," Motoji Takasu, a publishing producer, tells Shukan Asahi.
"Her pudgy little body made her a stripping star in a very short time."
Sawaguchi had initially kept her military roots a secret, but opened up about her weapon-wielding experiences during a 1993 magazine interview, throwing her into the national spotlight.
Around the same time, she started using her newly found near-fame to campaign for peace.
She appeared at a number of anti-war protests and deepened ties with journalists and other peace activists.
"There's no room for eroticism once war starts," Shukan Asahi quotes Sawaguchi saying in what became her trademark argument. "Nudity is a symbol of peace."
In February 2003, just days before the United States invaded Iraq, Sawaguchi headed off to Iraq and bared her body again, this time to act as a human shield.
But she attracted considerable criticism in Japan and was forced to head back home.
Not long after she returned, Sawaguchi began complaining about numbness in her legs.
She thought it was economy class syndrome. The pain lingered for a considerable period so the peace activist cum SDF stripper sought medical consultation and was shocked to learn in April last year that she had actually contracted leukemia.
She began a blog to detail her experiences battling the disease from her hospital room.
"She sounded really cheerful when I called her in the hospital.She told me jokingly how much she thought her hair was a pain and how she was always pulling it out," publishing business figure Takasu says.
"For somebody who had made a living out of their beauty, the experience must have been a tough one for Sawaguchi.
It was too tough for me to go and visit her."
"Sawaguchi's performances on stage were all about the fine line dividing Eros (the Greek god of love) and Thanatos (Greek mythology's personification of death)," Takasu tells Shukan Asahi.
"She spent her life stripping for peace." (By Ryann Connell)
February 2, 2006