Can you become an alien? Investigate Japan’s Newest Print Club!
Have you ever heard of Purikura, a machine that takes pictures that Japanese people, especially those who want to look cute in pictures, are obsessed with?
The official name of Purikura is Print Club. The abbreviation is made by Japanese people that love to abbreviate words, calling Starbucks “Sutaba,” McDonald’s “macudo,” or “Maccu”.
Purikura has been popular since 1995 and has grown incredibly popular among high school girls.
I am now a 22-year-old university student. When I was a high school student, I used to take Purikuras, very often. I went to Purikura and take pictures with friends when not only after events such as cultural festivals and sports festivals but also even on normal days such as after school.
There were(are) so many different types of photo booths. Each photo booth has its own concept, and the difference lies in how the photos are taken.
For example, there were some that made your face appear clearly and vividly, and others that made you look pretty and fantastic overall.
Recently, I have been investigating the latest Purikura.
As a 22-year-old college student, Purikura has become a sanctuary that I can only enter when I am drunk.
It was always high school students who created new trends and culture in Japan.
What is happening to Purikuras today, which is still surely making rapid progress?
Suppressing my nerves, I snuck over to the Purikura booth. The newest Purikura is called “97%.” The name of this Purikura comes from the concept of the photos not being 100% artificially enhanced but rather still maintaining the -3% for a natural look.
After the photos are taken, a trading card-style design, which is popular on social media, will be issued as a sticker layout to be printed. Alphanumeric characters of your choice can be added before printing, where you can add your own name, nickname, anniversary date, etc. to make your pictures cute and memorable. The printed stickers are then inserted into a phone case for storage
The photos can be freely photoshopped with texts and designs, as well as editing your eyes, lips, or whatever you want. The latest version of this machine has features such as tattoo stickers, which are popular among young people, and the ability to color a part of your hair, to subtly change the way you look. In Japan, many people are not allowed to have tattoos due to school regulations, but with this function, they can enjoy a temporary style that matches their outfits of the day.
In short, Purikura is a fantasy-making machine that creates an ideal through processing. The key these days is to create a “natural” look that does not give away photoshopped parts, but sometimes it is not a bad idea to enjoy an enhanced version of yourself.
Kotoka：Writer & interviewer living in Japan / Sophia University student / Love cats
Find me on Instagram@kotokasai