Putin calendar sells out in Japan

Tokyo: Russian President Vladimir Putin’s calendar that features the leader taking a dip in the icy waters of Lake Seliger or making short work of weights in the gym, was sold out in Japan, outselling those of domestic celebrities.

The Loft chainstore, which has exclusive rights over sales of the calendar, reported that those featuring Russia’s 66-year-old President were dominating sales at its outlets across Japan, the Guardian reported on Monday.

With just two weeks of the year left, Putin’s calendars were more popular than those of Japanese actor Kei Tanaka and, in third place, Yuzuru Hanyu, the reigning Olympic men’s figure skating champion.

Japanese news website SoraNews24 speculated that while some people were snapping up the Putin calendars as a “sort of practical joke”, others were genuinely interested in the his life and persona away from the Kremlin.

This isn’t the first time Putin’s testosterone-drenched calendars have proved a hit with Japanese consumers in the run-up to the New Year.

His 2017 calendar featured photos of playing in the snow with his dogs, including an Akita Inu puppy – a gift from the governor of Japan’s Akita prefecture to thank Russia for its help after the March 2011 disaster, the Guardian said.

In 2016, the first year the officially sanctioned calendars went on sale in Japan, Putin was shown fishing and practicing judo.

Media reports in Japan suggested many of the people buying the calendars, including a large number of women, were drawn to Putin’s unconventional style and “unashamed machismo”.