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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

Jonelle Patrick View All

Writing mystery books set in Tokyo is mostly what I do, but I also blog about the odd stuff I see every day in Japan. I'm a graduate of Stanford University and the Sendagaya Japanese Institute in Tokyo, and a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. When I'm not in Tokyo, I live in San Francisco. I also host a travel site called The Tokyo Guide I Wish I'd Had, so if you're headed to Japan and want to check out the places I take my friends when they're in town, take a look!

9 thoughts on “Life Size Living Dolls Leave a comment

    • They are, aren’t they? But that’s what finally gave away that these were pictures of real people wearing doll costumes. At first I really wasn’t sure, because the props could have been amazing scale models or something. So I looked into it and found there’s a whole world of people who like to wear large-headed doll and animal costumes. Who knew?

      • That is def a wow wow situation.

        Is dating so difficult that this service is necessary?

        Or is it simply a fetish thing like the maid cafes?

        What led to this practice?

        I must admit, my curiosity is piqued.

      • It’s more of a cosplay thing (dressing like your favorite manga/anime character). Often people who like to do the same kind of cosplay get together or attend events (like concerts) they share an interest in. It’s kind of like joining a club, where the price of membership is a committed interest in wearing a certain kind of clothing/costume. The cafe thing is just commerce trying to tap into a world of novelty that most people don’t have contact with, but would like to sample in a safe and limited way. Super interesting, though, don’t you think?

  1. It takes cosplaying and role playing to a whole new level.

    I honestly don’t see the point of making a life size doll that a real person would have to get into but again I’m not a guy. =P

    Though the dolls are cute & the nails too. The hands makes the doll seem old with the wrinkles…

    • Yeah, the wrinkly glove-hands are the only flaw. Sort of like baggy stockings, you know? I wish I actually knew someone who does this, because I’m quite curious about whether people who completely hide their identity while cosplaying differ from those who just change their looks.

  2. Hello !

    Where can there beautiful Cosplay Life Sized Doll Outfits be purchased ? Thank you for any information or help you can supply.

    BobbieBabbette

    • I’m afraid I don’t know of particular stores, but the best place to look would be among the cosplay suppliers in Akihabara. The whole cosplay scene has shifted to that part of Tokyo now, and if you wander around (especially on the floors above street level) you can find all sorts of amazing stuff!

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