knee pillow

Just when you thought it was safe to delve into the back of your boyfriend’s closet, the hizamakura is back!

Literally translated as “lap pillow,” hizamakura — cushions designed to look like the tender thighs of a woman – were a huge hit about 10 years ago and were splashed all over Western websites and magazines alongside phrases such as “weird Japan”, with many articles asking whether the country’s men were really so lacking in social skills that they were forced to buy such products. In truth, many were purchased as gag items as the trend grew, but as their popularity faded hizamakura soon became associated more with otaku nerd culture and became a much less common sight.

Reports suggest, however, that a new line of lap pillows going on sale at Tokyo’s Narita Airport are bringing the trend back and they’re selling better than ever.

The newer models are made of polyurethane rather than simply being filled with sponge, and are surprisingly detailed. With full-length legs and feet with individual toes, the pillows are said to be based on the measurements of a typical 165-cm-tall (5’4″) Asian woman and the most realistic to date.

After a hard day’s work, just position your hizamakura on the rug or on your bed, place your head on those realistic thighs and let your cares drift away. Aaah, that’s better!

▼ “I’m so glad you’re here, lady legs. Incidentally, where’s the rest of you?”

trend hiza 2

▼ Models are available with either black or red “Office Lady”-style skirts.

trend hiza

They lap pillows currently retail for around 6,900 yen (US$70) from duty-free stories in Narita International Airport and sites such as Japan Trend Shop, but frequently sell out and are fast becoming the must-have item for Asian travellers.

If you’re not planning on passing through Japan any time soon or are unable to find one of the ultra-realistic pillows online, you may be interested to know that Amazon JP currently stocks a softer, slightly less realistic version of the pillow for around 3,100 yen (US$30) that may fill the gap in your soul. But then who would want a pretend pretend girlfriend’s lap to rest their head on, right..?

UPDATE: We’re beginning to see reports suggesting that the reason for the sudden popularity of this hizamakura is not so much that it’s new as it is “rare”. A handful of news sources suggest that Narita Airport’s stock is currently flying off the shelves in the way it is mostly because they are the only current stockist, and that the maker is not currently producing new units. If that’s true, we’re pretty sure all this recent will be prompting them to fire up their machinery and crank out a few thousand more! We’ll have more on this, frankly bizarre, story as we get it.

Source: People’s Daily Online
Inset images via Japan Trend Shop