Leaning over the seated figure, I cupped one palm around each of her exposed breasts and squeezed. Cameras snapped as I pressed a thumb against each nipple. Not a bad texture, but the uniform consistency meant a hard squeeze compressed the flesh too much. Then someone came up beside me took off my companion's head.
Before you call the police, I should probably mention this was a silicate doll.
Japan is a country famed for its graphical storytelling through manga, anime and video games. So immersive and popular are these mediums that classifications are required for the youth who immerse themselves in two-dimensional fantasies (otaku) or just their own apartment (hikikomori).
... on an entirely unrelated note, the country has also found the love doll industry to be extremely profitable.
Orient Industries is Japan's premier producer of realistic dolls and coined the term 'love doll' itself. The silicon manikins are also referred to as 'sex dolls' for extremely obvious reasons, and also 'Dutch wives' for reasons Wikipedia informs me are due to the earliest versions being introduced to Japan by seventeenth century Dutch sailors who took them on long voyages.
The company has just celebrated its fortieth anniversary and to celebrate, has opened an exhibit of dolls in Shibuya, Tokyo. Naturally, I went (and feasibly, this was another idea I got from SoraNews24).
The exhibition was a medium sized room and brightly lit. Despite the presumed clientele base for the product (and the fact the dolls were only female), the visitors were not all pimply teenagers or shifty looking salarymen. Instead, groups of both men and women from all ages explored the room.
Of the fifteen dolls on display, two were from the company's earlier days in the 1980s and the rest appeared to be more recent. These earlier pair had a less realistic looking skin, but a more realistic look of shock on their faces for when confronted with whatever their new owners had in mind. The description behind the dolls said that the earlier vinyl versions were less durable and could leak air when compressed. Later versions switched the inside of the body to urethane foam.
The more recent dolls had skin that was more seamless and with a closer life-like colour. On the one doll we were allowed to touch, the joints bent easily into new positions, although there are no bones which is immediately notable when touching elbow and knees.
While very realistic looking in photographs, the skin close-up is too perfect to be real, lacking in freckles or any kind of blemish. I'm not entirely sure why this isn't added, since it would give more life to the facial features.
The facial features themselves are overwhelmingly those of school-age kidnap victims.
(Above: five dolls, only one of which seems to be having any fun.)
With only one (partial) exception, the dolls have downcast eyes that look submissive to the point of coercion. Also, one was trapped in a water tank.
I don't have a problem with dolls being used as a sexual kink (let's face it: there are far stranger ones out there), but a more disturbing sentence in the SoraNews24 pieces stated:
One of the aims of Orient Industry has always been to shift the focus of these dolls away from the taboo world of sex by highlighting their alternate purpose as cute companions.
No, people. A silicon doll is not what partnerships are about and the fact it is being suggested makes me despair of gender equality. On the plus side, those who really do believe such a thing probably aren't having children.
In addition to the dolls, there were also a collection of heads reminiscent of your favourite horror movie and a bartender doll who dispensed sake out of her left breast if you squeezed her right one.
There was also a selection of gifts from a photo book of dolls that looked like a document of homicide confessions and a gift box of the, uh, key part of a sex doll if you couldn't afford the whole thing, or wish to hot swap the options in your current plastic partner. Then there was a CD of... what? I failed to figure this out.
For anyone tempted in a love doll, the one price on display was ¥1,296,000 (~$11,600 or £9,000) for one of the latest models. If it helps, an information board suggested you can detach the limbs for easy storage. Like during dinner parties.