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Celebrities make big bucks in Japan

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Sylvester Stallone is a virgin. So is Mickey Rourke. Gene Hackman is a virgin, too. In the advertising game, virgins are celebrities who almost never do product endorsements — at least not in their own country.

But outside the United States, particularly in Japan, many celebrities are downright promiscuous with their names and likenesses. Back in 1982, even reclusive filmmaker Woody Allen — the ultimate celebrity virgin — did a New Year’s ad for Japan’s Seibu department store.

These celebs find the pay good (Eddie Murphy was rumored to have received $3 million for a Toyota appearance) and, because of Japan-only contract clauses, their reputations at home are not diminished.

Herewith, a roll call of recent celebrity ads in the land of the rising sun:
*Sylvester Stallone for Ito Ham
*Kevin Costner for Suntory Malt
*Charlie Sheen for Tokyo Gas
*Paul Newman for Fuji Bank credit cards
*Mickey Rourke for Daihatsu’s Charade auto mobile and Suntory Whiskey
*Sigourney Weaver for Nippon Steel
*Arnold Schwarzenegger for Nissin noodles
*John McEnroe and wife Tatum O’Neal for Assess toothpaste
*Rob Lowe for Suzuki cars
*Gene Hackman for Kirin Dry beer
*Whitney Houston for Sanyo stereos
*George Lucas for Panasonic

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