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They said publicity, may it be the good or the bad type, is still publicity.
This is the reason why there were skeptics on the real deal why Minami Minegishi, the 20-year old member of AKB48, a girl band in Japan, with a 90 plus members whose age range from early teens to mid-twenties, posted an almost 4-minute video of herself apologizing and shaving her head in the group’s youtube channel.
She said, “I was supposed to set an example for younger members, but my actions were extremely careless and senseless. My mind has gone completely blank. I don’t know what I can do or what I should do, but I couldn’t bear to do nothing.” She also stated, “I don’t expect you to forgive me, just because (I shaved my head). This is all entirely my fault. I apologize from the bottom of my heart.”
It was told that the girl band has a no-dating rule which, Minegishi allegedly violated, as pictures of her which have been published and reported by a Japanese tabloid suggest that Minegishi spent an entire night with a 19-year old boy band member’s apartment. These published photos, showed that Minegishi was leaving the building wearing sunglasses and a mask to cover her face. Almost without question, the tabloid’s report seemed to be enough to keep fans talking about the incident.
AKB48 is also Japan’s most popular pop group whose fan base is considerable male. The group who emphasizes on fan access and participation, regularly hold meet-and-greet events. Their CDs also include a ballot which the fans can use to vote for the annual all member election. The members who get the higher number of votes on the said election are rewarded to participate in more prominent roles on the group’s singles and music videos. These events prove to keep the fire burning as the group has established a good number of followers who certainly enjoys the band’s bubblegum pop sound and innocent image. Although the latter seems to be not viable as some of the group’s lyrics, actions and Lolita inspired outfits suggest otherwise.
Japan's beauty trend, dubbed "tseuke-yaeba," has reached a fever pitch, with young women paying hundreds for snaggleteeth.
The procedure first made headlines in 2011, but it has grown in popularity since then, even spawning a Japanese pop girl group whose members sport the snaggletooth look. The girl group, TYB48 or "Tseuke-Yaeba 48," was created by the Taro Masuoka—the very same dentist who pioneered the procedure.
"A lot of my patients are fashion-conscious and very cute. I wanted to find some way to take advantage of this, so I formed TYB48," Masuoka, of Tokyo's Pure Cure dental salon, told Japan Today.
The group whose debut album titled "Mind If I Bite?" dropped last April, turned the child-like vampire mouth into a bona-fide phenomenon. But they're far from Japan's first famous females with mangled mouths. See the smiles on the country's popular news anchor Mika Sugisaki and Japan's crown princess Masako.
The trend may seems out of step with American dentistry, but in Japan—where fashion trends often take their cue from child-like physical attributes—it's a thing of beauty. Masuoka claims the snaggletooth look gives his patients an "impish beauty" that is considered "endearingly attractive" to men. He's even reportedly offered middle school and high-school aged patients a half-price discount on the procedure if they bring identification. (The procedure, which can be temporary or permanent, involves cementing exaggerated veneers onto each canine tooth.You can check out how it's done with this helpful video from Tokyo's Dental Care Salon Plasir.)
Roland Kelts, author of the book Japan America, theorizes the rise of the "impish" mouth may have a psychological link. "The 'girl next door' look of accessibility and plainness is especially popular in Japan right now partly, I think, because Japanese men feel so weak in the face of a stagnant economy and fast-shifting gender roles," Kelts told Yahoo! Shine. "Marriage and birth rates in Japan are at historic lows. A too-perfect set of teeth, or anything else, can be intimidating when your role in society is imperiled."
Shifting gender roles and a growing insecurity of men in the workplace? Sounds familiar. If that's partly behind the snaggletooth trend in Japan, could twisted dental implants make their way to the United States any time soon? Gain popularity in US? No!" Dr. Jacqueline Fulop Goodling, a New York-based orthodontist, tells Shine. "Americans have spent billions of dollars educating ourselves on the effects of good oral hygiene... We care about the way our teeth look but we care more about if they are healthy."
Dr. Michael Sinkin, a Manhattan dentist, agrees that it's a cultural difference that has little chance of translating overseas. "When someone goes for cosmetic dentistry, some people want something perfect—'chiclet teeth.' Other people want a natural look. Culturally, that can vary. It's almost like a fashion statement," he told Shine. "I had a Japanese patient once who came in for some work and she was unhappy with the result, because she felt they looked too American, too perfect."
And, according to Dr. Joseph Banker, a cosmetic dentist from Creative Dental Care, the health risks just aren't worth it. "Although the procedure may seem non-invasive, the underlying teeth can be damaged in several ways. The additional length may cause stress on the teeth and can increase the risk of a tooth fracture." Messing with front canines in particular can lead to jaw problems, tooth decay and bacteria build-up, he says.
In the U.S., extreme cosmetic dentistry veers largely on the side of symmetry. "People come in and want well-aligned, perfectly white teeth with beautiful digital contours; they want a beautiful smile, beautiful facial aesthetics," Dr. Mark Yanosky, an orthodontist in Birmingham, Alabama, told the L.A. Times last year. It's become more than just straight teeth—he calls the approach "smile aesthetics."
According to a 2012 study by the University of Texas, 40% of people said they wouldn't date a person with crooked teeth, and 73% said that people with straight teeth are trustworthier.
But "trustworthy" doesn't always account for sex appeal. Consider some of our own snaggle-tooth trendsetters: actresses like Kirsten Dunst, Anna Paquin and the vampire-hunks of Twilight. Uneven front teeth may also account for some music fans in the states. "Gotye has made me realize that I have a crush on crooked teeth," wrote one XOJane blogger. "Those chompers seriously give me shivers of pleasure."
We can skip the dental work—who needs to pay for bad teeth when you've already got them? But maybe Japan's tseuke-yaeba movement will encourage us to embrace our natural selves, snaggletooth and all.
Japanese Man Places Ad For “Girlfriend” on Google – Nabs Himself 5 Girls at Once
Google’s Ad Words service is a tool used for displaying adverts based on the keyword one enters into the Google search engine. For example typing in “sushi” would yield a selection of sushi-related adverts at the top of your search. The actual price of placing an advert is rather on the reasonable side, and increasingly not just organizations but individuals are jumping on the band wagon.
For an individual wishing to use the service, perhaps the most typical course of action would be to post information about an item you were selling or looking to buy. However when it comes to technology, there will always be unintended methods of use that have up until now eluded even the most creative of minds.
Let me introduce you to a young Japanese man who found a rather obscure use for the Google Ad Words tool by placing an advert for, wait for it… a girlfriend!
The pure ingenuity and audacity of all of this has created quite a stir on the net and has undoubtedly left many like-minded single men out there considerably jealous.
The advert was first placed two months after the man — a fourth year university student — broke up with his girlfriend. After parting from the love of his life, his lifestyle gradually slipped into a state of seediness; when he wasn’t developing apps of skimpily-dressed Japanese girl groups, he was creating adult porno sites. When it comes to drowning your sorrows after a big split, some of us go for a beer with our mates, others for a walk or a drive; so the breakup for this young fellow must have hit rather hard!
There came a time during all of this when he looked back and realized that his last girlfriend’s positive influence had made him the man of integrity he’d been until then. Without the fairer sex in his life, he began to worry that he was doomed to a life of gloom and loneliness.
“My last girlfriend kept me straight and upright, someone who can be proud to call themselves a member of society!” he sighed. ”If only there were some way to get myself a new girl.”
In desperation he turned to Google and performed a search for “I’m looking for a girlfriend.” His search yielded a site about a similar guy who, for the heck of it, used Google’s advertising service AdWords to make a fake advertisement for a girlfriend. While this ad may have been created as something of a joke, the university student thought it was actually a pretty solid idea.
Putting the revenue yields from his adult site to good use, he settled the Google Ad Words advertisement fee and placed the ad. “I’m looking for a girlfriend”.
His ad was written in the style of someone recruiting for a job position:
“I’m looking for a girlfriend:
Age and occupation are irrelevant.
Nature of job position: love. No experience necessary.”
Detailing all of this on his blog , he was met with overwhelming response and attracted a following that perhaps even he hadn’t anticipated. Soon after, the lucky guy received no fewer than five offers from women looking for a partner!
Suddenly a hit with the ladies, you’d think that all the attention would go to this super stud’s head, but no not this fellow! When deciding who to date, he operated on a ’first come first served’ basis, giving priority to the girl who responded to his ad first.
After reading her reply, he couldn’t help but feel a little suspicious, but later admitted that after meeting face to face, he was ”pleasantly surprised that standing in front of me was a cute woman a little older than myself.” It seems that pursuing it this far paid off. The pair spent an evening at a restaurant where they got to know eachother over a nabe, or Japanese hot-pot.
The developments of this love romance are, at the time of this writing, still in progress and are being updated by the lucky man on his blog as they unfold. It seems that many avid followers are keeping their eyes glued as to just how things will turn out!
So just how much did this man pay for what is arguably a priceless shot at finding true love?
A one-time advertising fee of 2,500 yen (US$27) is all that was required! What’s more is that the service that the lucky young man used was a Google Ad Words promotion campaign where 10,000 yen’s worth of advertisement fees were thrown in free of charge — not bad when you think about the large sums that dating sites charge for utilizing their service!
Japanese police have launched a probe over a controversial magazine picture of a child in a provocative pose with a naked pop singer, its publisher and reports said Friday.
About 670,000 copies of the popular weekly Young Magazine were pulled from stores ahead of its planned sale last weekend because of a storm over the photograph, which showed singer Tomomi Kasai with a young, apparently Caucasian or Eurasian child cupping her breasts.
In the photograph, the blond-haired boy is shown reaching from behind to cup the breasts of 21-year-old Kasai, who until last year was a member of highly successful all-girl group AKB48, as she stares into the camera.
The photograph, on an inside page of the weekly, was released as part of a publicity drive for a book of pictures of Kasai produced by the same firm.
Tomomi Kasai’s debut photo book, titled Tomo no koto, suki? (“Do you like Tomo?”), is scheduled for release on February 4th, and the alarming picture was to be used as its cover. Kodansha is also the publisher of the photo book, and the plan was for it to be advertised in last week’s issue of Shukan Young Magazine. The issue of the magazine has now been cancelled altogether, and Kodansha adds the photograph with the young boy has been pulled from the forthcoming book. Interestingly, Yahoo Japan’s auctions site has even banned the listing of the now-renown issue of the magazine, making it even harder for those young men who are desperate to track down a copy.
Japan’s huge publishing sector includes magazines and graphic comics containing images that may be considered obscene in other developed countries. It is not uncommon to see people reading such material on commuter trains.
Young Magazine, which has a sizable readership of mostly young men, publishes comic strips on a variety of themes including definitive works such as the science fiction “Akira”, which became a cult movie series.
AKB48 is one of the world’s highest-grossing acts. It comprises a 90-strong pool of girls in their teens and early 20s who are rotated in and out of the public eye, based on their popularity.
Idols who have left the collective have had varying degrees of success, with at least one turning to pornography.
Don’t Let Your Family Find Your Porn Stash After You Die, Let “Keepers” Do It For You!
Take a look around your room right now. If you were to drop dead this instant would you be okay with having family members go through all of your stuff?
A lot of people have skeletons in their closet or on their hard drives that may be best left hidden even after death. It’s bad enough to have your friends and family mourn your passing but do they need the stress of learning you were into Japanese mud porn too?
So for the terminally ill, elderly, people wanting to maintain their double lives in perpetuity, and people living under constant fear of death, making arrangements with an experienced and independent 3rd party to come in and clean your space might be the way to go.
Making arrangements before departing this mortal coil has become something of a fad in Japan, especially since the release of the critically acclaimed documentary Ending Note (English title: Death of a Japanese Salesman) in 2011.
An ending note is an informal type of last will and testament but not legally binding. Their purpose is for people whose end is near to easily make the necessary preparations so that their family doesn’t have to deal with needless burdens.
Major stationery companies like Kokuyo even produce ending note kits to help facilitate the process.
Keepers is a private company run by Taichi Yoshida which started Japan’s first “Deceased Belongings Clean-Up Service” in 2000. In an interview with News Post Seven he tells some cautionary tales of his experiences with post-mortem secrets revealed.
“A lot of cosmetics and women’s underwear seems to come out of the rooms of estranged fathers.”
He also tells of men with mistresses and illegitimate children who were only discovered after death. As heavy as those cases are, even something not so serious but very unbecoming of your public persona might be best left hidden.
“There was a former elementary school teacher who was found to have over 1,000 adult videos in his home. His family was speechless.”
Unless you’re Larry Flint, no one wants to be remembered that way. So you could throw out your sexy lady chop sticks and Christmas masturbation devices right now.
Or you could whip up an ending note to have some professionals who’ve seen it all come in and chuck them out when you’re truly done with them.
Woman Arrested for Attempting to Rob Convenience Store, Attempt Was So Bad She May Get Off
Remember the bank robber who waited on the sofa at the request of his “victim” tellers? He may have competition for most polite criminal with a 23-year-old woman from the rural town of Noto, Japan.
In fact, her attempt at armed robbery of a convenience store was so gentle police are currently unsure what charges they can press.
Around 8pm on the evening of 5 January a woman burst into the Circle K convenience store brandishing a large blade like a kitchen knife.
“Give me all the money” she demanded of the clerk.
Apparently sensing this lady didn’t mean business the clerk decided to flat out lie and said “there is no money.”
The woman, caught off guard by this sudden new development quickly lost the heart for crime and dejectedly requested the clerk to “call the police, please.”
The clerk accepted and called 110 to which the police promptly responded and came to arrest the young woman. Upon her arrest the woman confessed saying that she simply wanted some money.
Taking this story at face value it would seem that the woman lost her nerve and folded under the pressure of threatening people. On the other hand, maybe – just maybe – this woman is a criminal genius on the level of Keyser Söze.
According to reports, as of this writing, police are carefully investigating the details of this incident including whether or not the woman’s actions qualify for attempted robbery charges.
It begs an interesting dilemma on where to draw the line of “attempted robbery.” If someone in a full body cast tells another person to hand over their money, technically they are attempting to rob. However, should they be charged with a felony?
Holding the knife would seem qualify her to be charged but based on the clerk’s reaction she apparently didn’t present any threat in spite of her weapon. It’s a dilly of a pickle.
The Differences Between Male and Female Otaku as Told by an Industry Insider
Since the late 1970s, the Japanese word otaku has gradually spread to become known the world over. The term generally refers to a person so obsessed with their hobby—usually anime, manga, or video games—that it adversely affects their health and/or social skills, though it carries different connotations in different parts of the world.
Among those outside of Japan who are well-versed in otaku culture, there are many who proudly admit to being otaku themselves; like a cooler spin on the Japanese otaku, shipped abroad.
On the other hand, the word caries a more sad, perverse tone here in Japan, something that lends itself to the image of a “creepy geeky guy”, with “guy” being the key word. While there are no comparative figures on gender ratios, you could probably say overseas otaku women are much more forthcoming about their self-imposed label than their Japanese counterparts.
But the female Japanese otaku does exist. There are Japanese women who forsake sleep and, with bloodshot eyes, play erotic PC games deep into the night, oblivious to their own deteriorating health. In fact, there might even be more women otaku than men—maybe they’re just better at hiding it.
Numbers aside, what are some of the behavioral differences between Japanese otaku of different sexes? Is there any discrepancy between how deeply a male and female can obsess over anime, manga, or video games?
Wakako Takou over at Excite! Japan spoke with an otaku merchandise industry representative to tackle these questions.
According to the representative, “It is not so much a matter of if there are more otaku males or females, or which of the two is more deeply involved in otaku culture; the difference is in the ‘quality’ of their obsession. For instance, a guy will spend over 9000 yen (about $110) on a cute anime girl hug pillow because they prefer expensive, high-quality material. If the same kind of pillow is made from a cheaper polyester material, it won’t sell.”
Otaku girls, on the other hand, aren’t particular about expensive items (and are probably less interested in fornicating with pillows). “Women are realists,” says our insider, “the most they will spend is 3000 to 4000 yen ($36 to $48) on something like CDs. 300 yen ($3.60) clear plastic folders with characters on them are best-sellers. Female otaku like to buy a number of small things at once.”
Women seem to be more frugal in their obsession. Does that mean men pay more attention to quality? “I think that when it comes to being otaku, men are more emotional and simply are more picky about what they want.“
There are other notable differences in men and women otaku. “Women tend to branch out from their original object of obsession, showing interest in other things related to it, whereas men have a tendency to be more narrow in what they fancy.”
There is also a difference in the way men and women view the voices behind their favorite anime characters. “If a guy likes a character and feels it doesn’t have a suitable dubber, to a certain extent, it doesn’t affect how much he likes her. But for female otakus, feelings toward the voice actor and the character are one and the same, and therefore it is very important that they match perfectly.”
Additionally, males tend to love their characters exclusively. Factors other than that character’s appearance or personality don’t really come into play. For females, character relationships, background, and the overall story-line in which the character is involved in all play a part in her feelings for the character.
“Women mostly like to sit back and watch over the relationships taking place, not placing themselves in the picture. Men, on the other hand, are much more possessive of their favorite character” Another key difference, he adds, is that “a number of otaku women fixate on women characters too. In this case, they are like men in that they tend to like that character exclusively and will purchase expensive items like the men do.”
^It’s not all Boy’s Love!
The rep wrapped it up by saying, “The boom of otaku culture, when maid cafes could be found on every corner, has passed. The otaku sub-culture now seems to have cooled down. There may be a difference in the way men and women are otaku, but I would say that as long as there is the passion to love anime, manga, and video games, in whatever way, otaku culture will stay alive and well.”
A high school girl was knocked to the ground by an unknown assailant who proceeded to steal one of her socks before making his escape in Ichihara, Chiba Prefecture, police said Friday.
According to police, the 16-year-old girl was walking home from school at around 5:30 p.m. on Thursday when the incident occurred, TV Asahi reported. She was quoted by police as saying that a man grabbed her ankle, forced her to the ground and pulled her left sock from her foot. Police say the girl was not injured in the attack.
The girl’s assailant escaped on foot following the incident. He was described as being in his 30s, around 160 cm tall and wearing a black down jacket.
Police say they believe this incident may be linked to three similar cases which have been reported since September in which high school girls had socks stolen while walking home.
U.S. Marine gets four years for molesting woman in Okinawa
NAHA, Okinawa Pref. — The Naha District Court sentenced a U.S. Marine to four years in prison Thursday for molesting and assaulting a woman in Okinawa in August.
The court handed down the sentence to Cpl. Iian Tarver, 21, from Camp Zukeran, in line with prosecutors' demands.
Presiding Judge Hideyuki Suzuki said Tarver "ignored the human rights of the victim and committed a despicable and violent crime."
The woman, in her 40s, "suffered great mental anguish as she thought she might be killed," he added.
In the lay judge trial presided over by Suzuki, Tarver's counsel sought leniency, saying his act was "not premeditated." But the judge ruled that the court could not suspend the sentence because the defendant's motive was "self-centered," leaving no room for leniency.
Tarver pleaded guilty Tuesday in his first trial session to molesting and assaulting the woman and said he wanted to apologize to her.
According to the court, Tarver dragged the woman from behind to the ground in an alley in Naha around 4:30 a.m. on Aug. 18. He forced her to the area of a private residence nearby by grabbing her hair and molested her there. She sustained a head injury.
SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea launched a long-range rocket on Wednesday morning that appeared to reach as far as the Philippines, an apparent success for the country’s young and untested new leader, Kim Jong-un, and a step toward the nation’s goal of mastering the technology needed to build an intercontinental ballistic missile.
UFO Crash Off Reported Off Japan Coast Sparks Media Interest, But Did It Really Happen?
Over the last several days, a number of websites have reported that Japan's Nippon Television was covering a story of how a UFO crashed off the coast of Okinawa and that officials had released a photograph of the UFO.
This is either an amazing story or yet another example of how stories of this type often get overblown. In fact, this comes under the category of "You've got to be kidding me."
As reported by inothernewz.com, and picked up by other media sources, the UFO was seen by several news crews, police and emergency vehicles as it sunk in the water near the islands south of Japan on Dec. 4.
That's a lot of potential eyewitnesses. The photo, above, was reportedly released by the Japanese navy. A navy spokesman, Yoshido Hari, has been quoted saying, "We wanted to release this photo to the world and confirm the reports. This picture will give credence to what some of our citizens living in Okinawa witnessed ... We clearly still have many days of salvaging ahead of us, but we will take our time and bring the aircraft up in one piece. We must preserve the object as much as possible."
That's quite a mouthful, if it's true. But this story falls apart on several levels, as ghosttheory.com also points out.
First, the UFO that reportedly crashed off Okinawa is suspiciously identical to a Google Earth image, below, that was one of many shown by HuffPost months ago to be nothing more than lens flares.
Next, while several websites have reported that Nippon TV said a UFO went down off the coast of Okinawa, a simple search of the Nippon TV site -- using the word "UFO" -- shows no results of any recent news item about a UFO.
Next, a simple Google search of "pink ufos" brings up numerous examples -- including the so-called Okinawa UFO -- of camera lens artifacts that aren't even solid objects.
If the Japanese navy had, in fact, released an official photo of a UFO that crashed into the sea near Okinawa, where exactly is that photo? Because the image that's shown up in most stories about the "event" is clearly not the object in question.
It's not known how or where this story even began, but the UFO field is already mired in enough bad stories with bad images and bad videos. It doesn't need any more to drag the credibility of the subject further down, much to the delight of
Japan provides its lonely men with plenty of way to find sweet respite from the emptiness and isolation of everyday life—provided you have the cash. And we’re not just talking about prostitution: you can rent a girlfriend at Moé Date for day of “simulate romance” or find a cuddle partner at Soine-ya to help you rest easy at night.
But what about the ladies? Women get lonely too, so it seems unfair that such services would only be available to men.
Believe it or not, even before either of the above establishments were in business, there was Soine-ya Prime, a dispatch service where women can hire a handsome young man to lay with her in bed for a night.
While unrelated to the male-oriented Soine-ya in Akihabara—which, by the way, has been doing so well that they’ve recently opened up a second shop in Shinjuku— Soine-ya Prime also believes that there are just some nights when we crave the warmth of another human beside us to the point that we’d be willing to pay a complete stranger to do it.
Soine-ya Prime opened shop in 2011 and seems to be inspired by Shimshima, a television drama that aired the same year about a woman who has trouble sleeping after coming out of a divorce. The woman finds that just laying alongside a man at night enables her to sleep peacefully and she starts a soine-ya (lit: “sleep together shop”) business that dispatches young men to sleep with lonely women.
The drama’s catchphrase, ”Sleeping with men makes women stronger”, sent an empowering message to women across the country.
Soine-ya Prime acknowledges its roots with a link to the Shimshima website at the bottom of their homepage and asserts that, like the business in the drama, it does not offer any sexual services to clients.
So what can you do with the “cast”, as they call their male employees. According to the site, you can:
・Sleep in his arms
・Go out for a date (all costs must be borne by the client)
・Have him clean for you (Simple cleaning tasks like vacuuming, etc., so long as it’s nothing discomforting)
・Eat together at a restaurant (all costs must be borne by the client)
・Have him cook for you (ingredients must be prepared by the client)
And here’s what clients are forbidden from doing:
・Touching his genitals or reaching under his clothes
・Taking a shower or bath together
・Kissing or other intimate contact not specified in the service outline
・Anything that would sexually arouse him
・Contacting him in private without the permission of Soine-ya Prime
・Hidden photography, wiretapping, etc.
They also add that they do not accept clients who use narcotics, have a dirty house, or are scouting for other establishments.
Pricing for the “Standard Plan, which covers all of the above services, starts at 30,000 yen (US $364) for 7 hours. For a full 8 hours of rest you’re looking at 33,000 yen ($400), and keeping your man for the maximum of 12 hours will put out 48,000 yen ($580). All sleeping must be done either at the client’s house or a hotel.
There is also a “Date Plan”, which includes a trip to Tokyo Disney Resort for 70,000 yen ($850, 2 tickets included). There is also the “Premium Date Course”, where the client can specify an activity she would like to do, such as going to the beach or watching the sun set, and Soine-ya Prime will plan and prepare a dream date itinerary for a fee starting at 50,000 yen ($600).
In either case, your rent-a-boyfriend will come and pick you up by car at either your home or a prearranged meeting place. For all plans, it costs an extra 2000 yen ($24) to pick out which “cast member” you want to spend the night with.
Speaking of which, take a look at the hot young stud muffins on the menu:
So ladies, whose arms would you like to fall asleep in tonight?
TOKYO - Like many Japanese, Kogoro Kurata grew up watching futuristic robots in movies and animation, wishing that he could bring them to life and pilot one himself. Unlike most other Japanese, he has actually done it.
His 4-tonne, 4-metre (13 feet) tall Kuratas robot is a grey behemoth with a built-in pilot’s seat and hand-held controller that allows an operator to flex its massive arms, move it up and down and drive it at a speed of up to 10 kph (6 mph).
“The robots we saw in our generation were always big and always had people riding them, and I don’t think they have much meaning in the real world,” said Kurata, a 39-year-old artist.
“But it really was my dream to ride in one of them, and I also think it’s one kind of Japanese culture. I kept thinking that it’s something that Japanese had to do.”
His prototype robot comes equipped with an operating system that also allows remote control from an iPhone as well as optional “guns” that shoot plastic bottles or BB pellets and are powered by a lock-and-load system fired by the pilot’s smile.
The robot, which took two years to pull together from concept to construction, also comes with a range of customized options from paint scheme to cup holders.
It isn’t cheap. The sticker price for the most basic model alone is around 110 million yen ($1.3 million).
Kurata said while he has received thousands of inquiries about buying a robot, he’s also received a large number of cancellations and declined to specify how many people have actually bought one.
But that’s not so important.
“By my building this, I hope that it’ll sort of be the trailblazer for people who can do more than myself to make different things,” he said.
“They might be able to make a society that uses robots in a way I can’t even imagine. I expect more from the implications of building it than from the robot itself.”