Maria Ozawa was in town on the penultimate day of 2022 as an ambassador for Mansion Sports Bar, a noisy new club in Makati that seemed to shake up one of the quieter streets in Makati’s Legaspi Village.
Ms. Ozawa isn’t new to the club scene: according to her, she has two lounges in Manila; one in Makati, and another in Manila’s Port Area. She also owns a bar in her native Japan.
In 2005, Maria Ozawa began her journey as the queen of smaller screens: watched in secret by boys of all ages. The Canadian-Japanese star awakened their sexuality as she performed stunt after stunt on camera. She left the industry around 2009, having performed also in some mainstream Japanese films. She appeared in some mainstream films in Southeast Asia at the beginning of the 2010s. To her recollection, she entered the Philippines in 2015, dipping her fingers in the Manila showbiz scene, shooting films with action stars Cesar Montano and now-Senator Robin Padilla. Up until 2022, she had been dating Filipino actor, model, and chef Jose Sarasola.
While the pandemic had kept her in Japan, she has traveled back and forth between the countries since travel restrictions have been lifted.
When BusinessWorld met her, Ms. Ozawa was wearing a white halter dress with a neckline held up by chains. She displayed an almost-girlish innocence and enthusiasm, and spoke with a high, charming voice. She discussed the reasons why she left the adult film industry. “That was a long time ago. Around 2009 or 2010,” she pointed out.
“I’ve accomplished my dream. I know that that industry isn’t an industry that you can do forever. Not for long-term,” she explained.
“When I started this, I wanted to be famous, and I wanted to change the inspiration and the thinking about the industry itself. I did — then I won an award,” she said.
If Ms. Ozawa’s recollections about leaving the industry are correct, she left the industry near the time she won at the 2009 AV Grand Prix, a Japanese award-giving body for the adult film industry (called the AV, as in “adult video,” in Japan). In that year, one of her films won the Best Violence Video Award and another, Oral Venus, won a special award in the Featured Actress Video category.
“I think that was the time when I thought, ‘If I quit, would I still be famous?’ People would be like, ‘Where did she go? What happened to her?,’ rather than just continuously doing [films] until they forget about you. A fast decision, I think,” she told BusinessWorld. “Luckily, I was well-known in other countries.”