Our reporter couldn’t make it home to visit Mom and Dad, so she wanted to let them eat her face instead.

Ordinarily, last month our Nara-based reporter K. Masami would have hopped on the Shinkansen bullet train and taken it half-way across the country to Fukuoka to visit her mom and dad, as per the Obon summer holiday tradition. Ordinarily. This year, though, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic made her think it wasn’t the best idea to hop onto long-haul public transportation and then spend several days visiting with multiple households of extended family relatives, many of whom are elderly and at greater risk of serious health problems should they become infected.

But as the thoughtful daughter she is, Masami still wanted to show her parents her smiling face, and she decided to do so by sending them a box of Japan’s new face cakes. Called Kao Dorayaki, the cakes are a variation of dorayaki, a traditional Japanese sweet made with two pancake-like cakes and a dollop of anko (sweet red bean paste) in the middle. The Kao Dorayaki are different from regular dorayaki in two key ways, though. First, they have an especially large amount of anko, but more importantly, they have a person’s face on them.

When we first talked about the Kao Dorayaki, some of you wondered if the face in the promotional photos was Nicolas Cage, but it’s actually this dude.

All you have to do is include an attachment of the photo you want printed on your Kao Dorayaki when placing your order with Iina Stores, the company that’s offering them in conjunction with old-school confectionery maker Futaba Chatei. Sunglasses or other eyewear are OK, but Iina Stores does ask that you not have your bangs covering your entire face, since that can cause glitches in the printing process (you also get a preview of how your cakes will look before you finalize the order).

So Masami grabbed her phone, snapped the selfie seen above, and sent it over to Iina Stores with an order for five face cakes, which cost her 2,800 yen (US$26). Then she texted her parents to let them know that she was sending them some dorayaki, purposely leaving out any mention of their unique appearance.

Iina Stores cautioned Masami that it might take some time for the cakes to arrive, since they’ve had a rush of orders over the past few weeks. In less than seven days, though, the deliveryman knocked on Masami’s parents’ door and handed over her gift to them. The package was simple and understated…

…but once they opened it up, they were greeted with five Japanese sweet versions of their sweet daughter!

“We got the dorayaki you sent,” came the text message from Masami’s parents, who also sent a series of photos documenting just how unsettlingly lifelike the faces on the face cakes are.

And things get more disturbing still should you slice or tear one in half.

“So, what’d you think?” Masami asked, anxious to hear their shocked reaction, to which her dad replied:

“They tasted really good. Not too sweet, but not too mild. Oh, and since they came by refrigerated truck, they were nice and chilled.”

…that’s…a valid answer, just not at all where Masami expected the conversation to start off.

“But, what about how they look?” she asked, to which Dad replied:

“I think it’d be nice if they had cute animal faces on them.”

Honestly, Masami had been expecting a bit more shock and hysteria, but she’d actually forgotten something very important: she works for SoraNews24, and a side effect of that is your parents, by proxy, developing a certain stoicism about just how weird your job can be. Yes, turning your face into dessert would startle most parents, but then again so would suddenly appearing on a national news program while dressed as a clown, but those are both things the SoraMoms and SoraDads have developed the mental fortitude to take in stride.

▼ Pictured: Masami’s SoraNews24 colleagues Mr. Sato and P.K. Sanjun (we weren’t kidding about the clown thing)

On the other hand, if your professional activities don’t include things such as purposely getting pooped on by pigeons or building a bathtub on your balcony, your parents will no doubt have a stronger reaction than Masami’s did, and even her parents gave her a sincere “Thanks for thinking of us,” which started off a conversation and brought them closer together as her parent munched on her face.

Related: Kao Dorayaki website
Promotional photo: Press release
All other photos ©SoraNews24
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