RAG’s Oxford Blues Naked Calendar appeared last Thursday on breakfast Japanese TV.
The calendar, which features Oxford’s best athletes in the nude, appeared last Thursday on the Japanese morning entertainment show NonStop!. a program broadcast all over Japan.
Yuka Muto, a spokesperson for NonStop!, said that, although the programme had never broadcast anything about Oxford or its students in the past, this story was worthwhile because it showed that “intelligent Oxford students are doing the interesting thing”.
NonStop! therefore sent an email to RAG Vice-President Louis Geary, which asked whether there was “any magic word in persuading the models to be naked” and if any “teachers or models’ parents had argued about the students making the calendar”.
The email described NonStop! as “picking up gossips [sic], social news and all kinds of interesting news articles from all over the world”.
The calendars are already a hit in Japan. Muto claims to have bought three copies for herself, whilst her boss has eagerly purchased five as a present for his wife.
Geary is delighted with the international popularity. He claims it “helps draw attention to the great fundraising Oxford RAG organises round the clock, as well as boosting sales”.
‘NonStop!’ is aired from 9.30am to 11.25am each morning, and the producers cite their main audience as middle-aged women. They broadcast short news items with content that varies from celebrities like One Direction and unusual food to stories of patients suffering from terrible illnesses. The main presenter is one of Japan’s top entertainers, comedian Osamu Shitara.
Like many other Japanese television programmes, ‘NonStop!’ shows its short news clips accompanied by a voiceover and brightly coloured subtitles. This is usually complimented by the face of one of the presenters in a small box, who responds enthusiastically to the content being presented, often with delighted squeals of ‘Awesome!’ or ‘Really?’.
This particular broadcast was linked to Twitter, allowing the audience to post their comments in real time.
AG President Jack Owen said: “It’s nice for Oxford students to get into the national and international press for something that isn’t scandalous. There is so much great stuff going on in the university that I think it’s a shame what gets focused upon.”
He added: “The calendar is the culmination of so many people working together. All that’s left is for some people to buy it.”
RAG’s calendar features a wide range of top Oxford Blues athletes from an assortment of sports, including basketball, rowing and polo. The proceeds of the sales go towards numerous charities, including the Oxford Food Bank, Education Partnerships Africa, Students Supporting Street Kids and the Oxford arm of Giving What We Can.
Each photograph, shot by Toby Mather, was taken in a different location and designed to be “unique, entertaining and artistic”. Geary said: “Our aim was to use poses that would make a great photograph even if everyone’s clothes were still on”.
Locations included a student’s room in college – into which another student accidentally walked during the shooting – and a public park – which had to be completed quickly so as not to attract attention from passersby.
The project broke even financially prior to the start of Michaelmas and is expected to sell out before the end of term.