Dakimakura: Definition

Un dakimakura (抱 き 枕) is a long pillow with a printed design from Japan. The name literally translates to "hug cushion": daki (抱 き) means" to hug "and makura (枕) means" pillow ". Dakimakura, also known as "Dutch Wife", is a type of large pillow mainly used by young Japanese people as a safety object. Although the bedding itself is not considered a sex object, the term has become closely associated with a subset "love pillows"adult-themed, which feature life-size graphic prints of scantily dressed anime characters or adult movie stars. cushions for cuddles have existed in Japanese culture for decades, primarily in the form of oversized stuffed animals and character wares for children and teens. However, during the 1990s, a subset of adult themed pillows known as "body pillows" or "dutch wives" became available when the dakimakura began to become embedded in the Otaku culture, which led to the production of pillow covers with graphic prints of bishōjo and characters bishonen popular cartoons and video games, and even life-size photographs of adult movie stars. Many of the first Otaku pillows were distributed by Cospa, a chain of retail stores selling products derived from Japanese characters. While dakimakura and body pillow may look very similar in shape and size, the typical reason for their use is different. Simply put, this is a case of physical support as opposed to a emotional support.

Orthopedic pillows are used for physical support, to correct the position of your body while you sleep. They allow you to avoid a whole series of disorders and discomfort: blood circulation problems, muscle pain, snoring, etc. Healthcare professionals may suggest using them, or they may be purchased on a whim or out of curiosity. In Japan, the dakimakura have a long tradition of emotional support. They are regarded as comfort items, like safety blankets or favorite soft toys. The name is meant to describe the way it is used. Contrary to cushions bodily, which can have various sizes and shapes, the dakimakura have strict measures.

Traditional dakimakura are about 40cm wide and 100-110cm long. The circumference should be a little over 90cm. Thus the different dakimakura that we offer have dimensions greater than the standard dakimakura. The standard size of dakimakura is important. This is not just for the sake of precision, but also because of the pillow's well-known connection to the manga and anime community. It might sound like a stretch, but it's true.

History & culture of dakimakura

The interweaving of the Dakimakura and Otaku culture began in the 1990s. During this decade, the Dakimakura pillowcases began to bear the imprints of fictional characters. These are large drawings, here almost life size! Dakimakura has become a way for anime and manga fans to get closer to their favorite characters, in a very physical sense. The advent of electronic commerce has catapulted the dakimakura to the margins of the dominant culture. The year 2015 saw the latest dakimakura innovation in the form of "talking" pillows powered by batteries. Today, the dakimakura enjoys dubious and double-edged popularity around the world.

Why do we say double-edged?

The dakimakura are sometimes synonymous in Japan with "love pillows". When it comes to printing life-size fictional characters onto large pillows, one can only imagine what that means.


Japanese pillow culture on the internet

Due to the massive presence ofotaku in Japanese online communities, the phenomenon quickly spread to the various discussion forums frequented by anime fans hardcore, including 2chan and Pixiv among many others. Shortly after the creation of online communities for collectors and creators of Dakimakura, the latter began to gradually infiltrate the mainstream, although it is often seen as a negative stereotype of the Otaku subculture. Despite its categorization as a sex toy, these pillows are also frequently purchased as a popular "joke gift" or as a brand new party item. Other less common novelties include love dolls for overweight, transsexual, elderly and extraterrestrial people, which are usable for pleasure but also tend to be offered as joke gifts. In its early days, the majority of custom graphic designs for characters from dakimakura were uploaded and shared via animation-themed websites and communities, although many online stores specializing in love pillows and material love dolls (LDMs) began to appear during the 2000s. Over time, the use of dakimakura as a sex toy has become a common joke both inside and outside the Otaku subculture, even inspiring a series of parodic drawings of extraterrestrial, old and overweight characters.