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Market for love dolls in aging Japan has nowhere to go but up, up, up

Shukan Asahi Jan. 18
Shukan Asahi Jan. 18

“Elderly people these days are totemo genki (very spry),” Hideo Tsuchiya tells Shukan Asahi (Jan. 18). “Perhaps thanks to a better diet, compared to seniors in the past they exhibit physical vitality equivalent to 10 years below their actual ages. I suppose by 2030 there will be even more of them around than at present.”

That’s good news for Tsuchiya, who is president of Orient Industries K.K., a manufacturer of state-of-the-art love dolls. As many seniors will be living by themselves, they are more likely to seek out Tsuchiya’s products, which sell for around 700,000 yen each.

This steep price has not kept him from selling some 1,000 dolls per year. And he’s optimistic that demand for his sexy silicone sluts will increase.

Until about 30 years ago, the typical “Dutch Wife” (love doll) sold at sex shops in Japan was of the inflatable type, and of shoddy quality that was easily subject to deflation at the slightest, er, prick.

“When customers brought the dolls in for repairs, vendors would stick on hot patches, like on tire inner tubes,” Tsuchiya recalls.

Some of these buyers, however, had their own reasons for preferring rubber joy mates to real women. Some weren’t satisfied with going to brothels. Others, jilted by their mates, had become eternally suspicious of females.

After discussing customers’ needs, Tsuchiya became convinced that cheap dolls were not the way to go. He set out to develop the ultimate ersatz female, adding improvement upon improvement, to come up with dolls constructed of silicone, whose skin afforded an almost humanlike sensation.

The next step came movable joints that permitted the dolls to assume a variety of positions. The lineup of models was expanded to include varieties that appealed to all kinds of pervy preferences.

A love doll from Orient Industries
A love doll from Orient Industries (The Tokyo Reporter)

Orient Industries also provides after-service. When and if the time comes for the dolls to part with their owner, the company will conduct a kuyo (Buddhist memorial service) for the doll, complete with floral offerings.

Thanks to modern technology, Tsuchiya expects the dolls to evolve further.

“While robots can walk and talk, I don’t expect this will be the case for love dolls,” he says. “But to make them more satisfying for elderly users, we are contemplating ways to warm up their skins to body temperature, so they won’t feel cold in the winter. At present their silicone ‘skin’ is cold to the touch.

“By 2030, I suppose love dolls will be developed that provide a sense of warmth from both the body and heart,” Tsuchiya predicts. “And to make their use easier for seniors, they’ll be made lighter as well.

“I think the best thing is for men and women to marry and stay together,” he concedes. “It would be more wholesome to have a world where love dolls aren’t needed. But this world isn’t that simple a place, and I don’t think things will have changed that much by the year 2030.”

Source: “Riaru na ‘taion’ ‘hada sawari’ rabu dooru ga koreisha wo iyasu, Shukan Asahi (Jan. 18, page 27)