Life Size Living Dolls

Yes, there is a real live girl inside this doll costume!

So, your friend sets you up on a blind date. He describes the girl you’re meeting as a bishōjōgurumiYou look the bits and pieces of kanji up in your ever-handy Japanese electronic dictionary. Woo hoo! “Beautiful…Woman…Doll”! Dude, I totally owe you!

And when she shows up to meet you, you discover he was not lying. She’s the ideal date! Bishōjōgurumi don’t usually talk when they’re in costume (although they’re quite adept at communicating through gestures) so your date will have a cheerful and accepting expression no matter how badly you mangle your intransitive verbs or misuse the honorific form, with no schoolmarmish interrupting to ask if what you really meant to say was, “I am toilet now.”

“Beautiful Girl Dolls” come in many styles, just like the manga and anime characters they portray. This one is dressed as a particularly excellent “Japanese schoolgirl,” an archetype so familiar that men and dogs can invoke the meme with the proper clothing.

Occasionally there are “pop-up” cafés featuring “Beautiful Girl Doll” waitresses at events or shopping malls, modeled after maid cafés.

These pages are from the outrageous Japanese nail art magazine NailMax, and feature custom-designed talons for the “Beautiful Girl Doll” characters.

When not marveling at the many ways people transform themselves, Jonelle Patrick writes novels set in Tokyo

“A genuinely gripping crime thriller which wrong-foots and perplexes the reader throughout, drawing us in emotionally . . . Highly recommended.” Raven Crime Reads

For nine years, Tokyo Detective Kenji Nakamura thought his mother’s death was an accident. Then he gets a call, and his life begins to unravel. Because if it wasn’t an accident…what was it? Read more