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Substitutes

Japanese men woo silicone sex dolls to overcome loneliness

Senji Nakajima is the happy owner of a love doll he’s named Saori. Although the Japanese man is married to a real-live woman, he lives separately with his silicone surrogate. The odd couple goes on weekend trips to Mount Fuji, has late night dates at a karaoke bar, and engages in one-sided conversations.

For Mr. Nakajima, the life-size doll is more than just an inanimate object. The 62-year-old tenderly dresses Saori, bathes her, and combs her hair. He is committed to his companion and worries Saori’s life will end once he’s unable to take care of her. 

Mr. Nakajima is far from the only Japanese person who has turned to love dolls for company. Some 2,000 are sold in Japan every year, according to the Japanese media. With removable heads, flexible joints, and soft skin, the silicone dummies don’t just provide sexual gratification for their owners, but often serve as an emotional outlet as well.

As demand for love dolls is growing, Japan’s demographic crunch is deepening. Falling birth rates, an ageing population, and the plunging number of marriages have the Japanese government in a panic.

To find out why some Japanese people are shunning real relationships for romance with synthetic partners, an RTD crew tagged along with Mr. Nakajima and other doll owners. Tune in to our documentary to gain remarkable insight into the world of silicone love and companionship in Japan.


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