A gravure idol (グラビアアイドル gurabia aidoru?), often abbreviated to gradol (グラドル guradoru?), is a Japanese female model who primarily models on magazines, especially men's magazines, photobooks or DVDs. Gravure idols, in most cases, emphasize their sexual attractiveness and often model in swimsuits or lingerie.
"Gravure" (グラビア) is a Wasei-eigo term derived from "Rotogravure", which is a type of intaglio printing process that was once a staple of newspaper photo features. The rotogravure process is still used for commercial printing of magazines, postcards, and cardboard product packaging. When translating into English, terms such as cheesecake photograph or pin-up girl are often employed.
Gravure idols appear in a wide range of photography styles and genres. Their photos are largely aimed at male audiences with poses or activities often intended to be provocative or suggestive, generally accentuated by an air of playfulness and innocence rather than aggressive sexuality. Though gravure models may sometimes wear clothing that exposes most of their body, their nipples and genitals are generally covered and they seldom appear fully nude. It is also common for gravure idols to have very large breasts and in their videos models are often shown performing activities specifically intended to cause their breasts to bounce or shake such as jogging or doing jumping jacks.
Gravure models may be as young as pre-teen age up to early thirties. In addition to appearing in mainstream magazines, gravure idols often release their own professional photobooks and DVDs for their fans. Many popular female idols in Japan launched their careers by starting out as gravure idols.
Gravure models are commonly photographed wearing bikinis or lingerie but may also appear wearing schoolgirl uniforms, Japanese street fashion, and kimonos. Since 2008, zakzak magazine has awarded a Gravure Idol Award.
In Japanese culture, idols (アイドル aidoru?) are media personalities in their teens and early twenties who are considered particularly attractive or cute and who will, for a period ranging from several months to a few years, regularly appear in the mass media, e.g. as singers for pop groups, bit-part actors, TV personalities (tarento), models in photo spreads published in magazines, advertisements, etc. But not every young celebrity is considered an idol. Young celebrities who wish to cultivate a rebellious image, such as many rock musicians, reject the "idol" label.
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