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One of the founding figures of the Japanese adult video, she has been called indispensable to any discussion of the AV. Her unprecedented popularity in the mid-1980s, the early days of the Japanese AV, earned her the title "Queen of AV." After making her debut as a non-pornographic photobook and "image video" model, Kobayashi entered the AV field in 1986. Because of her rapid popularity, Nikkatsu, Japan's leading producer of softcore pornography at the time, hired her to appear in theatrical films in 1987. She announced her retirement in 2003 with a big-budget, though controversial, 2-volume farewell adult video.