The Silicone Valley of the Dolls
The Captain was never much for chemistry class. HIs idea of experimenting was seeing how many times he could lick a battery before his tongue changed color. Then he discovered alcohol.
This week, though, he is molding silicone into the shapes of ladies. Get ready, folks, this might be deepest into the gutter the Captain has scraped yet.
You've come a long way, baby.
You were once armless, legless, and pressurized. Now you have full lips, a sensuous body of silicone, interchangeable heads, and even jewelry.
"The improvement in the design of our products over the past 30 years," says showroom manager Yoshio Nakamura of Orient Industries, one of Japan's leading love-doll manufacturers, "has been done by listening to our customers."
To show an example, Nakamura, a short, stout man in spectacles and a string of gray under his chin, shuffles across the floor to Orient's current flagship model within its "Jewel Rosa" series, the lovely Koyuki.
This curly, brown-haired number has a 155-centimeter height and 90-cm bust that are an amalgamation. Customers had found the 94-centimeter bosom of the "Candy Girl Light f" line to be a tad top-heavy for her modest 150-cm frame. Yet another edition of ladies were a bit petit, some potential buyers said.
"The customers wanted to achieve a balance," Nakamura explains.
Orient is in the business of serving society by supplying sexy stand-ins for those in need of filling a female void. And with technological advancements improving steadily, Nakamura says, his company can accommodate any want for a lifelike lady.
To step into the Tokyo showroom, which is filled with Victorian furniture and the soothing sounds of chanteuse Enya, is to literally enter the silicone valley. Ami lies on a bed rimmed in lace, her body adorned in matching panties and bra. Rie (black evening dress) and Tomoko (red yukata) recline in chairs, both displaying sizable cleavage. Over a dozen others stand or sit in various outfits but, maybe peculiarly, none of them approach anything near to a smile from beneath their carefully manicured hair.
"Japanese guys like the cute, innocent look," says Nakamura of the lost-in-space look of his babes. "The passive-looking, non-aggressive woman is what they want. They don't want someone who is not going to give them a hard time."
Nakamura, who does not use the word "doll" but instead refers to his girls by name, says that customers typically are middle-aged men and women, but purchases by 80-year-olds are not unusual.
"When a woman's libido goes down," the manager explains, "the woman might say to the husband: 'I've lost interest.' The wife will then see this as a lot safer than other options. If someone is frequenting sex businesses, there are all kinds of dangers, such as AIDS."
Nakamura pulls the legs of Ami back beyond her ears to demonstrate flexibility. Her lips, he says while pushing them to a pucker, are for kissing only.
The pubic hair, panties, brassiere, and detachable vagina, which is available in a number of sizes and comes lined with round nodules to ensure a snug fit, are all part of the package upon purchase. Online sales are possible but discouraged since Orient believes a personal showroom tour will likely lead to better customer satisfaction.
Hygiene after the fact is simple. A hole in the bottom of the removable organ allows for a simple cleaning with just water. "It is very sanitary," Nakamura says.
Flipping through Orient's catalogs reveals faux females, fully clothed in dozens of everyday outfits, relaxing by the pool or at the base of a tree in the park. Others are sitting, legs crossed, on flower-patterned sofas, soaking in foamy baths, or lounging on tatami mats in seductive poses while offering open gowns. Also available is a steel frame, almost the equivalent of a bicycle kickstand, for supporting the girl in a standing position.
"This is not only for sex," cautions Nakamura, who says that many customers often leave their lady lying around the house as if she were a member of the family. "It is also about companionship and just simple conversation."
A bag, not too dissimilar from a sleeping bag, is available, however, for any necessary safe-keeping.
The president of Orient, which also has a showroom in Osaka, is Hideo Tsuchiya, who got his start in the industry in the 1960s. He made a name for himself when Japanese scientists stationed at the Showa Base in Antarctica recruited two of his early blow-up gals, named Antarctica I and II, to help thaw the local chill.
As time went on, the products advanced and changed with the trends. In 1977, Orient issued its debut, Hohoemi, a limbless vinyl inflatable. By 1982, the company had marketed the white-bloused Omokage, who could be easily disassembled into her latex parts for storage purposes. Her younger sister, Kagemi, sported highly bouncy hair to fit well with the year of her birth, 1987. It wasn't until the late '90s that the more durable soft vinyl was introduced into the torso of the long-haired Asuka, whose eyes were capable of winking.
Today, the options are numerous. For the top-of-the-line, like the ladies of the Jewel Rosa set, spongy and clammy silicone surrounds an entire internal skeleton of steel rods. Given that each runs a hefty 660,000 yen, girls soft vinyl limbs, which are slightly less pleasing to touch, are offered for the more budget-friendly sum of 420,000 yen in the "Candy Girl Light f" line. Smaller-breasted, all-silicone sweeties in the "Candy Girl Petit Jewel" series are available for 630,000 yen. Young adults, in complete high school girl gear, from the "Candy Girl Petit" suite (starting at 132,000 yen for all vinyl versions) can be purchased by those of the pedophile persuasion.
In addition to soft vinyl being less desirable than silicone, there is as well the unappealing joint between the female's shoulder and arm, something that doesn't exist for a pure silicone sister. But such a blemish is nothing that a robe or evening-wear strap, as Tomoko and Rie can clearly demonstrate, won't cover up.
For those with unique tastes, anime characters, maids, and nurses, which are not intended for intercourse but for company, come complete with round, bug-like eyes in the "Fantastic Soft Figure" collection for as little as 139,000 yen.
Details are not overlooked. Pink or peach fingernails, toenails, and lips in varying shades are possibilities. Wedding rings and necklaces provide an element of sophistication. Hair kits, numerous frilly outfits for nearly any mood, lotions, black shoes, and bathing suits are also available as add-ons.
The heads are generally pure silicone. A ball-and-socket system built into the base of the head and top of the torso makes switching from one girl to another a snap.
"Some guys go for different fantasies," Nakamura says of Orient's display cabinet of heads available for separate purchase for 84,000 yen each. "They might like different wigs. So they might keep two or three heads in their homes."
Olivia, for example, who satisfies that foreign fetish with her Western features, choice of blue or gray eyes, and long hair, might be a nice change of pace over Moe and her short crop.
In spite of the large investment, complaints or problems are rare. Besides, Nakamura says, his girls are inexpensive compared to the real thing. "Even an unemployed guy has sexual needs," he adds. "This is meeting those needs."
As evidenced by the industry trade sheet i-doloid, which profiles the newest models from various manufacturers, competition is abundant. Ona Doll, which is typically a delivery sex business, provides dolls on demand to customer's homes (60 minutes, 5,000 yen). Meanwhile, maker Honey Dolls offers touch-sensitive areas on its "humanoid robot" honeys and USB ports capable of audio downloads so sultry sounds can be uttered during key moments of use.
Having great confidence in its products, which are produced in their factory in Tokyo's Katsuchika Ward using only Japanese-sourced products, Orient welcomes any newcomer to the market. As well, Nakamura cautions of electronic gadgetry, those items will not be interesting to owners for very long. Orient has found that moving eyes and other electronic inducements break easily.
"This," he says as he pans across Orient's roster, "requires you to use your imagination. Customers don't want to have sex with a robot."
In like fashion, Nakamura refuses to divulge sales figures, insinuating that he is not trading in something crude like a slab of meat. But he will offer that right now sales are doing quite well with their factory employing 40 people.
When the customer has exhausted the useful life of one of Orient's femme fatales, the company encourages their return. Near their factory a Shinto ritual is performed at a shrine before a proper disposal is performed.
"The reason why people are coming to our store," Nakamura says, "is not because they like dolls, it is because they like women. This is a substitute, and it is a substitute that looks like the real thing."