I was lucky to have the opportunity to have a one-on-one with the legendary Kobe Tai, who is one of the of the most well-known Asian-American adult stars. This interview took place at the first annual Big Apple Anime Fest at the end of October 2001. Asia Carrera and Kobe Tai bravely flew to post-9/11 New York City all the way from California to promote Nutech Digital’s new Japanese adult animation series, on some of which they did the voices. Ms. Tai is a very engaging and charming woman, with a cute slight southern accent.
When I first met Kobe, I told her that both Asia and she were not on the interview list that was given to us. She looked at me and said, “Well we have to fix that, now!” and I ended up talking to her at the Nutech table for most of that weekend.
OK…who are you?
Kobe Tai: (does a double take, smiles) I am Kobe Tai!
Now I know Kobe Tai isn’t your real name. How did you come up with it?
Actually I had originally spelled it C-O-B-Y, T-Y. And I thought that Coby was just a really awesome name for a girl. And Steve Hirsch who owns Vivid loved it, but wanted to change it to be a little bit more ethnic, because that’s what all the marketing is about. And so we changed it to what it is, and it’s worked out beautifully. It’s a great name for me.
Do you want to know what my Porn Name is?
I have this program on my Palm Pilot that tells you your Porn Name….
…by entering your mother’s maiden name, your first pet’s name, your street name…
Oh, Yes, Yes, Yes!
Well, my Porn Name is Prince Williams.
Prince Williams! Nice! (Kobe briefly touches my left thigh)
And my Soap Opera Name is Matthew Linden…
Ah! Matthew Linden! I like that!
My Star Wars name is Shadaw Weepo….
And my Drag Queen Name is Sheba Williams.
So if I ever decide to go into Adult Films…..Not that I ever am….But, you know…At least I have a name to choose from, so….
I like it!
Cool! Ok now… How is it being an Adult film star?
I really, really, really had a nice career doing Adult, and being Kobe Tai. I’ve been doing Adult for about five years, and I’ve had a had wonderful ride…
I really, really have. Yeah, everybody has been very nice, very supportive; my fans are true die-hard fans. They follow me everywhere.
Is that a good thing?
Yes. Yes, it is because I know them by their face, not just, you know, I know them by name…
Like you go to your home, and all of a sudden they’re in your front yard, or anything like that, yelling, KOBE!!
No,no,no,no, not that bad. That’s the thing, I mean they follow me everywhere to support me, but if they do happen to see me when I’m “off the clock” supposedly, when I’m like in the bank or something, they really do respect my privacy. And me being me, and I think a lot of the reaction that I have with my fans being so nice to me, is that, you know, the way people perceive you, and I really am a down-to-earth person, and I really do pride myself with the fact that I do like my fans, you know, it’s not just a money thing, you know, because, yeah, they make me money – I wouldn’t be anything without them, but I like them too, and they know that, so they respect me.
That’s good…Now, which adult movies would you recommend as your best?
Hmmm….. Mission Erotica still today is a good seller, it’s got me and Asia Carrera on it….Uhmmmm… Lotus, one of my first movies, still an awesome number-one seller….
It’s got me on the front in the little Geisha girl outfit with a little sun tattoo on my chest….Still a great seller, and I like it, it really is sweet. Oh, but The Awakening…Ah! That’s a good one. The movie won a lot of awards.
I read somewhere that you’re half Japanese and half Chinese from Taiwan…
Yes, that is true.
How was it growing up?
Well, I was adopted by Americans when I was five months old. My dad was in the Navy – he was a chief yeoman – so he was stationed over there. And when they were stationed over there they adopted me. And then he got transferred to Mar San Diego, so I’ve been in the States ever since.
How was it growing up being the only Asian in a white family?
Oh! I didn’t see colors, they didn’t see colors, all my friends never even thought of me being Asian. It’s really funny, because in my school there were no Hispanics, no blacks, no Asians. I was THE only Asian, everybody else was white, and it was really…Nobody knew me as different, I mean I always made four point “A’s”, I was captain of the cheerleading, I was drill team, I was softball, basketball, track, I did, you know, hurdles. And it was like I was in everything, and I never really thought of myself as being different until I moved to California and I started doing legit modeling, working for “Fresh Jive” clothing and “Sketchers” and whatever, and I did a hair commercial for a European shampoo, and then I got into Porn, and then that’s when I realized, “Oh my God, I’m different!” Because I was different, I made more money.
I guess it also helps if you’re a pretty woman.
Well, I never really thought of my self as being, like pretty…you know…
That’s because you see yourself everyday.
Yeah. That’s true.
If you were to step outside your body for a moment and looked at yourself objectively, you’d say, “Oh wow, she’s HOT!”
Hee, hee, hee. “Wow, I turn me on!” Yeah, so that’s when I said, “Oh my god, I’m different!” And I love it, I like being different.
Do you have any feedback from other Asian women? Do they perceive you as negative? Or do they say that you are a good role model, or something like that?
Yes, everybody has always, whether they were a porn fan or not, come up to me. And they may not even know who the heck I am, they may not know who Kobe Tai is, but they come up and they go, “Wow, you’re really attractive, I’ve got to know what you are.” And they want to know, because to be half Japanese and half Chinese is very rare. They don’t get along, so you usually don’t get that mix….So I tell them, and we just hit it off great.
Do you know anything about your real parents, how did they meet, how did it happen, you know, Japanese and Chinese….
Sometimes opposites attract, and my mother was Chinese, and my father was Japanese, he was a soldier, and uhmm, it’s just, yeah….
Wow… So I guess if China ever occupies Japan, I guess this is what the people would look like…
Yeah, yeah, exactly, this is what everyone would look like!
Since you’re half Chinese and half Japanese, have you ever been interested in learning the languages? Do you speak Chinese or Japanese?
Oh, I’d love to learn Japanese, especially now, as I had a friend that’s working a lot with a marketing agency in Japan, and going over a lot. Oh my god, If I could speak Japanese, looking Amerasian… Man, I could make a lot of money!
Oh, that’s another thing I was going to ask you – have you considered ever doing any Japanese Adult films?
Actually, this company that I was talking about approached me on maybe doing something with them, so…
How are your fans in Japan? You said you have fans over there….
Oh, they’re big, yeah, yeah. My fan base is actually stronger and broader in Europe and Asia than it is in America, and I’m well known in America, so it’s like twice over.
Actually, to tell you the truth, I really didn’t know who you were until I saw The Man Show, and I saw you jumping on that suitcase, and I said, ” Oh wow, so that’s Kobe Tai!”
Ha ha ha. Ah, oh well, thank you.
Exactly, I’m surprised they didn’t do it before…
It’s very, very smart.
Of the character voices you’ve done so far, which is your favorite?
Well, actually I’ve only done Koihime, parts 1 and 2, and in both I play the same character, Nami. They picked that character for me because it is right on to my personality. She’s sweet, well, you know I think I’m sweet, because I get along with everybody – I love people! But she is a very nice, nice character, and I enjoy doing her because it was easy to do.
Are there any voices that you’re planning to do in the future?
Oh yeah, actually I’m trying to pitch an idea for them to put me and Asia Carrera together.
That will be very good…
Yeah, yeah, yeah, very good…
Do you know what series you want to get into that Nutech is carrying?
Actually they just got a whole new shipment in, and I don’t know what those titles are yet, but I do know that I’m up for doing more, so be on the lookout!
Do you like watching Japanese anime in general?
Oh yeah, I think it’s very, very, very interesting. I think that the Adult Anime is a lot more erotic than the regular porn.
Which movies and series characters is your favorite?
In regular porn?
In Japanese Animation.
Oh, uhmm.. Gosh, what’s he called…Starts with a “T”…Something “Neighbor”…
You mean, ” Tonari no Totoro? My Neighbor Totoro?
Yes, Yes, Yes, I like it. I like that one, Actually, yesterday I bought the little character, yeah, Totoro the Neighbor..
Yeah, he’s a big woodland Japanese Spirit..
Is he? They said he was good luck.
Yeah. And like these kids, they befriend him…
So Totoro is the good luck, and he befriends all the children, and then the children have good luck?
Supposedly, yeah, it’s kinda like a spirit, I think it’s from Japanese mythology….
I love that. I think that’s so neat…
How is it doing voice acting for Adult Japanese animation as opposed to doing, like regular Adult Films?
It’s a lot more creative because if you see a human, and you got to do the voice, you can read off the human’s facial expression, because you know what you look like when you smile or when you’re upset, and you can do the same thing and basically just be a mirror image. But when you get animated as a cartoon, you have to create the whole feeling and make that face, have some furrows in his eyebrows, or have the smile lines, or whatever, so it’s a lot more. It’s a lot more work, but a lot more fun.
Do you find that your experience in doing Adult films brings more to the surface of doing your part in Adult Japanese Animation?
Oh yeah, definitely…I mean, you know you’re hiring somebody to do something that they do.
What do you do in your free time?
I get my nails done, I go shopping, I play the piano.
Oh you play the piano, just like Asia Carrera.
Yeah, I play the piano, I love it.
Last question. Do you have a website where your fans can contact you?
Yes, if over 18, go to www.kobetai.com.
I like to thank Kobe Tai for being so nice to let me interview her for this piece. She is not only beautiful and sexy, but she is also approachable, friendly, and very funny. Visit her site at here.