Japanese 'Girlfriend Coat' Comforts Lonely Men

Photo: Nick Starichenko / Shutterstock
Japanese 'Girlfriend Coat' Comforts Lonely Men

First, the Japanese brought us animated dirty cartoons with probing tentacles, and they integrated robots into everyday life. Then came young shut-in men called Hikikomori. And most famously, we also have body pillow girlfriends thanks to them.

But the sexual curiosity and awkward socialization everyone has, spurred the creation of a different form of artificial comfort.

A jacket was created for young men in 2013 by Japanese students at the University of Tsukuba to make lonely men feel like they have someone there. Japanese students love to make devices and machines that serve a sexual or practical purpose.

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Hikaru Sigura was the main hardware engineer on the project. He said, "The concept of this device is everyone can get the feeling of having a girlfriend."

While it looks like an ordinary coat, it feels like someone is hugging you from behind.

There is a band that goes around someone's midsection. With motors connected on the back, they squeeze the wearer as a way to simulate being snuggled from behind by your girlfriend or boyfriend.

The garment, called a Riajyuu Coat, also features headphones that the user wears to allow the man to hear the voice of a young woman murmuring to them like a whisper near the ear. They generally apologize for being late or act cute in a high-pitched anime way.

Riajyuu means "someone who is pleased with their life outside of the internet." It's more or less the opposite of a t-shirt that looks like a comely woman's bathing suited-body that strangely never comes in anything smaller than a men's size XXL.

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Itt still remains to be seen if there is mass appeal for the product, or not. But with the thousands upon thousands of lonely men in the world, it wouldn't be surprising if it did exist.

I'm not sure if it's the Japanese penchant for off-beat pornography, or their fragmented national libido, but almost every time there is something new, you almost have to stop and think twice about any sexual thought or relationship idea that comes out of Japan.

And furthermore, do we want lonely young men to be the little spoon with an inanimate robot pillow?

Hey, I'm a huge fan of being the little spoon, but if I'm living a fantasy by virtue of a stylish article of clothing, then I'd like to be a little more of an alpha male. Unless it's a motorcycle jacket or there are tiny hand-shaped protrusions inside the hip pockets; then all bets are off and off and off.

But the big question is: Why are we making it easier for men to find physical comfort without an actual person?

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Tom Miller is a writer and performer based in New York. He's been a mechanical engineer and a banker. He's been the general manager and coordinating video producer at YourTango for 12 years.

Editor's Note: This article was originally posted in April 2013 and was updated with the latest information.