Japan’s Hottest Calendar of 2019 Features Horny Pictures of Vladimir Putin

The calendar's rampant success has been attributed to young Japanese women calling themselves "Putin fans."

|
Dec 18 2018, 3:45pm

Image via Wikimedia user Russavia, CC licence 3.0 (L); and YouTube/Vox (R)

The president of Russia is big in Japan. Over the past few months, calendars featuring photos of Vladimir Putin practicing judo, lifting weights, and lowering his half-naked body into a frozen lake have become national bestsellers, according to Japan Today. Putin has even outstripped local superstars as the number one hottest calendar of 2019. And it’s not the first time the smouldering, 66-year-old politician has had hearts aflutter in the Asian nation.

Japanese chain store Loft started selling a range of celebrity calendars for the 2019 new year back in September—with 34-year-old movie star Kei Tanaka and 24-year-old Olympic ice skater Yuzuru Hanya also proving popular among shoppers. But it was the Putin calendars that reigned supreme, bizarrely dominating sales at outlets around the country.

A portion of this can probably be chalked up to "ironic" shoppers taking the piss: as local media outlet SoraNews24 points out, many of the people snapping up the Putin calendars are likely doing so as a weird kind of practical joke. But it’s also been reported that a recent surge in self-proclaimed “Putin fans”—that is, young women with a confessed adoration for the Russian leader, who frequently refer to him by the pet name of “Poochin”—could be fuelling the calendar’s overwhelming success. Livedoor News quoted many such fans as having admitted that they were honestly just attracted to the enigmatic European.

Past years have revealed similar veneration for the Russian leader, with Putin calendars proving a hit among Japanese shoppers in 2016, 2017, and 2018, The Guardian reports. Some of the hornier images have included Putin partaking in a spot of shirtless fishing, playing with his dogs in the snow, and gazing mysteriously off into the distance through a pair of binoculars.

Loft has exclusive rights over the sale of the calendars in Japan, allowing them to fully reap the rewards of Putin’s improbable—and seemingly insatiable—local fanbase.

Follow Gavin on Twitter or Instagram

This article originally appeared on VICE AU.