Does PokerStars have a Japanese schoolgirl fetish? Sure seems like it because their latest Team PokerStars addition is model Yuiko Matsukawa, whose schoolgirl photos and other modeling work are plastered across the net.
This is quite an interesting signing because Matsukawa has no live-tournament cashes; instead, it seems like she just started playing poker since she was spotted at the Macau Poker Cup before landing a sponsorship deal. However, it’s pretty clear that Matsukawa wasn’t signed on her poker merits.
Instead, this is your perfect example of a poker site signing a good-looking woman who brings more to the table than just a couple big live-tournament victories. Matsukawa furthered her fame by starring in a film called “Terrace House Closing Door,” which centers on a fake reality show involving six men and six women. Given the 24-year-old’s fame in Japan, this fits in well with what PokerStars is trying to do in Japan: get ahead of the market before the game is legalized.
In previous years, it seemed like there was no chance that Japan’s relatively traditional society would ever embrace casino gambling/poker games. This is, after all, the country that inspired the Last Samurai, a movie about a bunch of late-nineteenth-century, stubborn-assed samurais who refused to trade in their swords for guns, ultimately meeting their demise after charging a Gatling gun head-on.
Of course, this isn’t to say that casino gambling is the Gatling gun and all Japanese are stubborn samurais for refusing to embrace the activity. But it’s pretty clear that their prime minister, Shinzo Abe, sees the value in legalizing casinos and not just relying on a bunch of pachinko machines to drive gaming revenue.
So by signing Matsukawa and their previous additions to Team PokerStars, Naoya Kihara and Kosei Ichinose, PokerStars is doing a great job at appealing to the large potential Japanese poker market before anybody else gets a chance.