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Meet the Porn Pioneer Who Sold Bukkake to America

Pornographer Jeff Mike's late 90s series "American Bukkake" helped introduce Americans to the notorious Japanese sub-genre. Mike tells us about the pivotal series and how it changed adult film and American culture.

The turn of the millennium was a fertile time for pornographic experimentation. This was the era that brought us tropes like the creampie and cumswapping . Many of the more novel innovations of this period, like adult diaper fetish or giantess pornos, quickly turned into niches tucked away in the far corners of the internet. Bukkake, however, managed to sear itself into American culture, erotic and beyond.

A Japanese term meaning "the act of splashing," "bukkake" can refer to a style of noodles. But more often than not, it refers to a sexual act in which a group of men stand around one woman and beat their dicks off until they jizz onto her face.

Some spurious tales claim the act had roots in a shaming ritual for adulterous women in medieval Japan. This origin story certainly resonates with the common perception that bukkake videos are all about dominating and denigrating women with a wave of liquid masculinity for twisted, chauvinistic pleasure. But the act actually shows up for the first time in the historical record in 1986 with the release of the Japanese porno Mascot Note. Porn historians tend to agree that it (like tentacle porn) was a workaround to depict some kind of sexual pleasure in a country where censorship laws required the pixilation of genitals.

Yet for all we know about the rise of bukkake, the story of when and how it came to America is pretty hazy. It's even less clear why, once introduced in the United States, which wasn't dealing with the same cultural baggage or censorship issues as Japan, it became fairly popular. There are almost 11,500 videos on Pornhub right now tagged with "bukkake"—almost 10 times as many as the number of videos tagged as "futanari," another Japanese fetish involving one or more characters who present as women but turn out to have (and vigorously use) male genetalia. And many mainstream porn stars from Sasha Gray to Riley Reid have either done a full-on bukkake or a variation of it, like a blowbang or gangbang ending in a group cumshot.

Finding bukkake's exact American debut is impossible; Japanese videos floated to the US from the 1980s onward. And by 1997, a Western bukkake series called German Goo Girls was already coming our way via Europe. But many in the industry, like Jeff Vanzetti, the founder of IAFD.com (porn's IMDB) and perhaps the closest thing to an encyclopedic industry archivist, believe the first bukkake film to really popularize the fetish in this country was "American Bukkake," a series released in 1998 by Jeff Mike's JM Productions, the year that porn historian Brian Watson claims the term "bukkake" first started to spike in American media.

Although his company is still fairly active, Mike has been out of the spotlight and (for the most part) the industry for almost a decade following high-profile obscenity cases in the early 2000s that were linked in part to his bukkake productions. The obscenity charges were eventually dropped in both cases, although only after about a year of legal wrangling and extreme stress. VICE recently caught up with Mike. Here's the man in his own words sharing his recollections on how he became acquainted with bukkake, why he thought it was special, and how its popularity developed in the US.

I had my own company within a larger distribution company in the 1990s. They also distributed movies for different people like Rodney Moore. He came to my office one day and handed me a VHS tape from Japan that was a bukkake. I watched it, and I was blown away.

I'm not turned off by cumshots. I'm not exactly turned on by them, either. But this was just so different. It was so easy, yet it was like a train wreck. You almost can't take your eyes off of it. The people's genitals were pixelated. I thought, Wow, the Japanese work with a lot of censorship against them, yet they come up with these unique, creative ideas and manage to pull them off .

I sat on the idea for a while. I had a line of vignette videos, Perverted Stories . I figured: Nothing needs to fit in. So let's try a bukkake scene just to see what happens . This was Perverted Stories 21 in 1998. We called the scene "Bukkake Boys." I don't remember how many guys we brought in—I want to say 15. We just had the girl sit there, and the guys ejaculated on her. And I got bombarded with fan mail after this film came out. They would say, Hey, this is awesome, you guys need to do more of this ! So that's why I decided to do the series "American Bukkake." The first one of those we put out in 1999, and it was pretty much an overnight success.

My company is fan-driven. I never did it for the money—although that was nice. I've been a fan for a long time, and I thought a lot of the product that was coming out was just generic. I come from a punk rock background. Pushing the limits and not fitting in, I always thought, was a good thing. And that's just the way that I did it. It wasn't necessarily to shock anybody. It did, but that wasn't the goal. I just wanted to put out stuff that was interesting enough to have my name on it.

Bukkake was difficult to shoot and really expensive compared to the other things that were coming out at the time. The first time we used the B-grade guys, or guys who we shot all the time that kind of did us a favor. They shot this scene for us at less than their normal rate. But over time, it got easier. We put an ad in LA Weekly to get guys. We ran it twice a month, and we set up a bukkake hotline—it was just a phone number that somebody manned, and he would call them back and tell them all where this bukkake shoot was. It seemed very underground to me. It was cool because the fans got to be a part of something that they loved. They would tell us something that they wanted to see or what they liked about it and what they didn't like about it. So we kept adjusting as we kept shooting. I think that's why we had the longevity—still to this day we sell a lot of them.


Art by Zoe Ligon

The Japanese bukkake was much better than what we originally shot, because we only had ten or 15 guys. It's got to be 20, 30, 40. But our shoots kept growing. The fans would say, We want more guys. People would tell their friends. It was like a punk show. Only certain people knew where it was. Somebody would call somebody else, and it would snowball. We had to change the locations every time because the studios would get pissed at all the guys hanging out in their parking lots, and it probably looked scary to them. A lot of the people in the movies were really cool, though.

When you approach the girls about a scene that's never been done before, that's kind of hard to explain, they just look at you like you're stupid. But after we shot a few of these things, girls were actually coming to us. Maybe their fans were telling them, We want to see you do this. There are some girls who fantasize about multiple men wanting them and wanting to orgasm on them, too. So, after awhile, I had a waiting list. I can't say that about anything else we've put out.

[Editor's Note: The more movies they made and the more fans asked for more extreme content, the more Mike and his team were pushed to invent sub-fetishes within the bukkake genre, at least one of which turned into its own distinct, independent fetish: gokkun, or cum drinking. ]

It's hard to remember how I came up with half of this shit. If something outrageous came to mind, I would write it down and save it until the next bukkake shoot. The cum bomb is the first thing we did. [ Editor's Note: Think a condom-water-balloon full of ejaculate .] But it got kind of boring, so we had to come up with new ideas. Some came from fans and some came from me and my director, Jim Powers. We did one once where the girl was wearing goggles, but we took the lenses out so the cum pooled up in her eyes. It was intense.

We tried a lot of different things, like having them cum on food and having the girls eat the food.

I said to my director, "I wonder if we could cook into a scrambled egg–type mixture." And we did that. If it was something that looked good and the fans responded positively to, then we continued in that direction. It seemed to me like the more disgusting it was, the better it was for the fans. I guess disgusting is different for everybody, and for them, it wasn't. It was bliss.

A lot of it, too, was what I thought once the movie was edited. If I thought it looked good, we would keep going with it. With the food stuff, people wanted it, but I thought it just didn't look right. I know a lot of people do stuff like that now on these clip sites, but I didn't care for it.

Then we started doing gokkun. We did our first one of those in 2006. We had made 20 or 30 "American Bukkake" videos, so it was getting harder to come up with ideas. Most of the scenes featured swallowing, because fans always wanted that. And I heard the word "gokkun" somewhere and thought, Oh shit, we can branch off and do American Gokkun with only swallowing and continue " American Bukkake" with only facials. If I could make two series, it's double the profits. We already had this core group of guys, so we went from shooting bi-weekly to weekly.

In the late 90s, early 2000s, that was kind of the trend, where every company was trying to outdo each other... I kept thinking that other people in the US were going to start making more bukkakes. But for the longest time, they didn't. I don't know why exactly that happened. There were a few companies that were starting to do it, but not in the same way. They couldn't get the people, so they'd call it a bukkake, but it only had five or six guys. But when I got busted in Los Angeles for obscenity, pretty much everybody backed off bukkake, and I kind of owned that category for a long time.

People have this image of pornographers being outlaws or people who have balls. It's really the opposite. They're a bunch of fucking pussies. They follow what everybody else is doing and do it as safe as possible, which I never did. I never thought, Will I get in trouble for doing this ? I'd just do it. I figured, I live in the United States, it's a free country .

Many porn companies, they're just doing it for the money. And that's not me. I mean, I loved the money. But it's not the most important thing. When you put your name on something, it should stand for what you are. I cared. It's funny, because I don't anymore. But man, did I back then. Even when I was in Los Angeles, I never paid any attention to what other people were doing or what was popular. Our tagline for the company was, "We don't follow trends. We create them."

"I didn't want to be just another porno company putting out the same crap as everybody else. I wanted people to feel like they got their money's worth." —Jeff Mike

I'm totally turned off of the porn industry today. There really isn't any money in it anymore. I still get emails form people begging me to do more bukkakes and gokkuns but... you can't sell enough of them because everything's pirated. As soon as you put it out there, it's up on the internet, and everybody's getting it on these tube sites for free. So as much as I'd love to keep doing it, I'm not going to spend and lose money to make like three people happy.

And I'm not inspired anymore. So if I'm not inspired, I don't want to put out anything new.

It blows my mind that these 20-something producers in the US are doing stuff that I helped pioneer. I don't know if they watched some of my movies or if they're just coming up with these ideas 20 years later. But I feel like we've inspired a lot of people a lot. I don't know if that's good or bad. And I never look at it that way. I was just trying to create something interesting that people hadn't seen before. I didn't want to be just another porno company putting out the same crap as everybody else. I wanted people to feel like they got their money's worth. There was nothing more aggravating for me when I was a porn fan then renting a VHS tape and end up being like, Fuck, this sucks, I just spent $5 on this . I didn't want my shit to be like that. I wanted people to want more, and we were very successful at that.

Follow Mark Hay on Twitter.