“Gravure Idols (shortened to Gradols)” are female idols and talents who mainly model in bathing suits for spreads in weekly magazines and comic magazines, image DVDs. Although the “gravure” in “gravure idols,” refers to the published photo pages in magazines, it derives from the 1960s-1970s intaglio printing (technique at the time) which was the mainstream. After that, another printing method became the mainstream but the term is still used today to describe this type of magazine photo page.
Are There Gravure Idols Abroad?
First, let’s take a look and see if there are any entities similar to gradols abroad. For example, when women take part in pinup photo shoots in the United States, they appeal to the sexy side by going nude (take PLAYBOY as an example), while in Japan they try to be as cute and sexy as possible while sporting a swimsuit. Mr. Takeshita Japan, a gravure idol critic who is very knowledgable about overseas models, says “there aren’t any gradols abroad, but there are models similar to gravure models.”
In Japan there are comic magazines like Young Magazine and Young Jump that publish gravure in bathing suits, but in America there are many people who believe comics are for kids and would not publish such photos. Instead,
they’re published in weekly magazines. A great example of this would be Sports Illustrated. In comparison, Japan has similar magazines like Weekly Playboy, SPA!, and Number (which is not strictly about sports). It is said that
when swimsuit photos are published, the magazine sales go up significantly. But PLAYBOY doesn’t just feature nude photos, but also female talents who model swimsuits.