TENGA Staff Interview #1: Maori Kudo, Advertising and PR
This is our first post in a series of staff interviews with members of different departments here at TENGA.
Our first TENGA Staff member featured is no stranger to interviews, but some of our questions took her by surprise!
**The following interview was originally conducted in Japanese — I’ve done my best to keep the translation as true to her original words as possible! -T.
Who are you?
My name is Maori Kudo, I’m 26 years old, and I work in the Japanese Advertising and PR Department at TENGA.
How long have you been at TENGA?
Can you describe what you do at TENGA?
Umm that’s tough! It’s a mix of all kinds of things. I appear for interviews and in media coverage for both TENGA and iroha within Japan, so that includes magazines, TV, and web content, and I connect with the media to introduce new products. I’m also a content creator for iroha, including the iroha blog, and the Women’s Care Q&A section of the iroha website, a series of interviews with female doctors where we answer women’s questions about sexuality and their bodies. I also do social media for iroha, so Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. I coordinate events and promotions for iroha as well.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Oh no, that’s hard to choose! Okay, I won’t say the ‘best’, but the happiest part of the job for me is when I can directly communicate with fans of the brand through social media — fans of both TENGA and iroha really love the brands, and it’s great to get that positive energy, unfiltered.
When I’m at events with the company, people will sometimes approach me — ‘hey, are you Maori Kudo? I follow you on Twitter!’ — people know who I am and what iroha is, and that’s really exciting. It shows me that what I’m doing is working.
What is your least favorite part of your job?
It sounds cliché, but I don’t really hate any part of my job… sorry!
Come on, it can’t all be rainbows!
Umm… okay, I guess the hardest part is that in Japanese society, female sexuality still isn’t so open. I want to teach people about our brand, and about how important masturbation is as an element of self-care… but it can be difficult to know how to approach people in a way that will be effective, and not alienate them. I really want to just go out and tell everyone, ‘masturbation is awesome! Treat yourself!!’, but it’s not so simple. So, it can sometimes be difficult to design fun promotions that will appeal to Japanese women, while taking care not to have it be ‘too much’ for many of them.
What TENGA product you like the best?
I think probably the Rolling Head CUP is my favorite.
Okay, so it moves like this, right?
This one was originally inspired by a toy called poko-poko hammer, and — wait, does that exist outside of Japan?
I’m really not sure! We’ll include a photo of one so people can see it.
Oh good, okay. Well, this cup was originally inspired by that toy, which I think is so interesting and funny — so I can’t help but like this one especially. It’s such a cute story, and it’s so weird that a product of ours could have an origin story that starts at the 100-yen store*.
*Note: the 100-yen store is the Japanese equivalent of the dollar store, with an enormous selection of an incredible variety of things, often with absurdly (suspiciously?) high product quality.
What iroha product do you like the best? Why?
Oh, iroha time, yay! Hmm, what should I choose for iroha… (legit mulls it over very seriously for several moments) …Okay. If it’s being used with a partner, the TORI, but if it’s just me, the YORU. I like the YORU’s little mouth and how it can pinch!
Is there another product you’d like to highlight?
The TENGA SVR! Simply put, it’s got a great reputation for feeling awesome. Within Japan, this is probably the most famous vibrating ring out there. There were others before it, but the quality wasn’t great, or they weren’t shaped very effectively.
I don’t know how it is in other places, but in Japan women don’t really use toys during partnered sex — they tend to be shy to seek out what feels good for themselves and to initiate their own pleasure. The SVR adds that extra something without being intrusive, so it’s a great introduction to using toys in the bedroom.
I feel it’s so important for women to learn what feels good and how to get that pleasure for themselves — I don’t want women to give up on seeking their own pleasure!
Now I have a few questions for us to get to know you better. Ready?
Do you have any pets?
I have one cat, named Nyaa (‘meow’ in Japanese), but really, I just call him ‘Cat’.
Like Breakfast At Tiffany’s!
Oh! I didn’t even think of that, but you’re right! We took in 5 kittens, and were looking for homes for them. We didn’t plan on keeping any, so we purposely didn’t name them to keep from getting attached — but of course, in the end we ended up keeping one. He’d been ‘Cat’ for so long though that the name just sort of stuck.
Animal? Hmm… I do like cats a lot… I like that they do what they want when they want. They sleep when they want to, they eat when they want to. They’re their own boss. I find that soothing.
Favorite Disney movie?
Ooh! Beauty and the Beast!!
The animated or live action version?
Oh, good point. Both! But the live action one is really great. It just makes me so happy when I’m watching it.
Hot dogs or pizza?
Coffee or tea?
Tea! Jasmine tea. I drink it every day. (and is drinking it right now)
I don’t do well with caffeine, I get too jumpy — that’s why I need something like jasmine tea, lavender scents, chill people, cats… I prefer relaxation… That’s why masturbation rules! Heyyy, brand tie-in, haha! But honestly, I really do use self-pleasure as a relaxation technique too. There’s nothing quite like it.
Chocolate or potato chips?
Oh no… that’s a tough one… I’ll say chips.
What is your guilty pleasure song?
I don’t actually listen to music much…! I like quiet, I don’t even watch TV. I get cranky if there’s noise around me!
Favorite social network?
Lately I like Twitter a lot — but I like Facebook a lot too. I use Twitter publicly and Facebook privately, so they’re different worlds for me. Twitter is fun because anyone can join in, but I use Facebook to keep up with people I can’t see very often.
What would you do if you farted audibly on a full train?
(explosive laughter) Umm. Absolutely pretend it wasn’t me. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
What is your go-to karaoke song?
Something by AKB48!
Last question — what is something that has made you happy lately?
Something that made me happy recently — okay, I have one. Working at a company like TENGA, I sometimes wonder what other people think of me — if they have a good or bad impression of women who work at companies like ours. I made a Twitter poll, and it said ‘A woman who works at TENGA is…’ and the options were ‘diligent and serious, erotic and sensual, happy and energetic, or charming and elegant’? And the top answer by a pretty big margin was ‘charming and elegant’! That’s a pretty positive image, so I thought our fans really are quite kind to us.
Do you have a question for Maori, or something you’ d like us to ask in a future staff interview? Leave a comment, or find us on Twitter at @TENGA_Global!
Until next time,