A dakimakura (抱き枕) (from daki (抱き) "to embrace or cling" and makura (枕) "pillow"), is a type of large pillow from Japan. The word is often translated in English simply as "hug pillow" but more commonly known as a "body pillow". In Japan, dakimakura are similar to Western orthopedic body pillows, and are 'commonly' used by Japanese youth as "security objects".
In the East, "dakimakura" is associated with a love pillow. Love pillows are a subset of dakimakura usually portraying life-size pictures of anime characters. Some pillows may portray anime characters or pornographic film actors in suggestive poses.
During the 1990s, dakimakura began to intertwine with otaku culture, leading to the production of pillow covers featuring printed images of bishōjo and bishonen from various anime or bishōjo games. Many of these early otaku dakimakura covers were released through Cospa, a character goods and apparel store which continues to release official dakimakura covers to this day.
Although sometimes called a "Dutch wife", the original definition of this phrase is closer to the chikufujin, or "bamboo wife".
A dakimakura is available in two main sizes, 160 cm or 150 cm in length with a 50 cm width (100 cm circumference).
Prior to the mid-2000s, dakimakura were available in one size; 160 cm x 50 cm, which is considered to be the authentic Japanese-sized pillow. Since the late 2000s, 150 cm x 50 cm dakimakura became available and increasingly popular due to shipping cost savings from being under the 2 kg airmail weight limit.
- Galbraith, Patrick W. (2009). The Otaku Encyclopedia: An Insider's Guide to the Subculture of Cool Japan. Tokyo: Kodansha International. ISBN 9784770031013.
- "Make Your Hug Pillow Experience More Pleasurable with Rub-Activated Talking". 28 February 2015.
- "Interactive, Rubbing-Activated Hug Pillows Finally Get Release Date". 16 March 2016.
- "Dakimakura - The early days and why the 10cm difference".
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