Vladimir Putin proves an unlikely pin-up in Japan topping 2019 calendar sales 

Home / Vladimir Putin proves an unlikely pin-up in Japan topping 2019 calendar sales 

He cuddles puppies, cycles nonchalantly in shades and lowers his near-naked torso into icy waters. But perhaps less conventionally, Japan’s latest calendar pin-up is no fresh-faced popstar: it’s Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia.

Loft, a Japanese chain of lifestyle stores, has reported that calendars featuring the rugged, blue-eyed Russian president are flying off the shelves and eclipsing even its most popular domestic celebrities.

Sales of official 2019 Putin calendars containing a stream of testosterone-fuelled images of the 66-year-old president were reportedly in Loft’s number one sales spot.

Following closely behind the perhaps unlikely political pin-up were calendars devoted to the thirty-something Japanese actor Kei Tanaka and, in third place, 24-year-old Olympic skating champion Yuzuru Hanyu.

The popularity of the ageing Russian president’s calendars was reportedly fuelled by a surge in self-proclaimed “Putin fans” – mainly young Japanese women apparently seduced by his rugged charms, according to local media including SoraNews24.

The Russian President is well known for his unusual photo opportunitiesCredit:
RIA Novosti/Reuters

One person who is perhaps unlikely to rush out to the nearest Loft store to buy a calendar featuring Mr Putin in all his manly glory is Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe, with the surge in calendar sales sitting a little incongruously with current bilateral relations.

Tensions continue to simmer between Japan and Russia thanks to a decades-long territorial dispute over a chain of islands, which is the reason why the two nations have still not signed a World War Two peace treaty.

Calendars starring the Russian president have been a surprise hit

Indeed, in the shadow of soaring calendar sales was also news this week that Russia had built new barracks for troops on the disputed island chain, a move likely to anger Tokyo after repeatedly urging Moscow to reduce its military activity in the region.

There are reports that Mr Abe may also visit Russia next month in a push to defuse the territorial dispute stalemate between the two nations and take a step towards signing a post-war peace treaty.

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