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02 May 2004 @ 10:50 pm
interesting oddity  
article from A Jewel in Japan's hi-tech crown: sex dolls
also the site mentioned is http://www.orient-doll.com/ (WARNING.. not work safe and in japanese.. but interesting just to look at the dolls themselves... much like real doll but different and very japanese in direction)

A Jewel in Japan's hi-tech crown: sex dolls

Dacapo (April 21)

"The other day, we took a drive out to Mount Fuji," reads the letter. "I've enclosed some photos from our trip. As the temperature has been very changeable of late, please take care of yourself."

Along with the handwritten note, signed "Yoshiko," were several photos of a fetching female, some alone, some posed together with a man who appeared to be in his 30s, obviously Yoshiko's beau.

The letter's recipient was Hideo Tsuchiya, president of Orient Industry Co. and Yoshiko's "father," so to speak. Tsuchiya specializes in the design and manufacture of life-size mannequins which -- with no disrespect intended to citizens of the Netherlands -- are referred to in Japan as a "Dutch wife." The dolls serve as sex substitutes for widowers, the handicapped and other males who are able to function sexually but who, for whatever reason, lack human partners.

Presumably, the gentleman in the photos penned the note to express his satisfaction with the relationship.

"I often get letters like this one," Tsuchiya tells Dacapo. "It's gratifying. But you know, a Dutch wife is not merely a doll, or an object. She can be an irreplaceable lover, who provides a sense of emotional healing."

Speaking at his showroom near JR Okachimachi Station, where some two dozen of Orient Industry's ersatz females are displayed, Tsuchiya tells Dacapo's reporter that for years his clientele had typically been handicapped men, or single men over 40. But from around six years ago, when he commenced sales via the Internet (www.orient-doll.com), he was mildly surprised to receive a surge of orders from men in their 20s and 30s.

To heighten the lovely dolls' appeal, the showroom models are dressed (or undressed) to kill, some clad in designer fashions and wearing Bvlgari wristwatches, others in flimsy negligees.

"Please, go ahead, touch one," Tsuchiya urges. "Vinyl or silicon can be used, but we use high-grade silicon, which gives a texture close to human skin. The feeling is completely different from the inflatable type."

The latest best seller, named "Jewel," went on sale three years ago. Two years in development, Jewel stands 140 cm tall and weighs 26 kg. No seams are visible where the limbs or head join the torso.

"We've made the body more pliant, and the legs will open wider," says Tsuchiya. Perfecting the process required considerable investment in equipment but has paid off, as Orient Industry has already sold about 600 dolls, despite Jewel's hefty price tag of 600,000 yen.

"What do you think of her? Isn't she cute?" beams Tsuchiya, eyes twinkling with obvious pride.

"When I ran my hand along the doll's thigh," confesses Dacapo's reporter, "I felt a shiver of excitement."

After observing the painstaking effort that goes into the making of each doll at Orient Industry's factory, the reporter came away enlightened. "Many people might be inclined to disparage sex toys," he writes, "but these dolls truly exemplify Japan's status as a high-tech country!"

Jewel and her sisters are shipped to purchasers in cardboard boxes stamped kenko kigu (health apparatus), and users are assured of lifelong after-service.

As the vow "until death us do part" may be stretching things a bit, however, the company also anticipates a time when Jewel might outlive her usefulness -- or her owner.

"If a yome [bride] is no longer needed, we'll discretely take her off a customer's hands at no charge," Tsuchiya adds. "Twice a year we also arrange for a kuyo (Buddhist memorial service) for discarded dolls at the special bodhisattva for dolls at the Shimizu Kannon-do in Ueno Park." Founded in 1631, it's where the "souls" of dolls are consecrated. (Kannon is the Goddess of Mercy.)

This devoted treatment, says Tsuchiya, is out of deference to his customers' frequently close emotional attachment to their Dutch wives.

Which may not necessarily be a bad thing. When Tsuchiya reads of a teacher or policeman nabbed for molesting a woman, or perverts who hold girls in extended confinement, he sighs to himself, "If only they had owned one of our gals, they wouldn't have committed such a crime!"
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