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Section: Anime Plastic Surgery

Japan, Not Korea, Leading The Charge In Impossible New Asian Beauty Standards

Beauty standards in East Asia are already questioned throughout the West, with South Korea well-known as home to the world's highest rate of plastic surgery. Not to be upstaged by those over-operated K-pop celebrities surfing the Korean Wave, Japan is now spearheading a new movement bent on establishing an even more impossible (as if something already impossible can be more so) set of manufactured beauty ideals for young Asian women to emulate.

Known for their expertise with humanoid robotics, the Japanese have leapfrogged even themselves. Enter the impossibly sexy and energetic humanoid hologram. Say hello to Hatsune Miku, the anime-inspired J-pop celebrity now taking the country by storm as she penetrates the young Asian female consciousness. Here she is performing impressively before a madly enthusiastic crowd of 3,000 people.

The phenomenon has led James Turnbulll, a respected sociologist in South Korea blogging on The Grand Narrative, to state that "it behooves me to ponder some of the negative social consequences as the technology improves, especially once the virtual idols become photo-realistic. Indeed, Hatsune Miku aside, it's already entirely possible that when my daughters are in their late-teens or early-twenties, they'll feel compelled to compare their bodies with – and be compared to – impossibly perfect computer-generated body shapes..."

But there's more, and again it's coming from Japan: Eguchi Aimi, the newest member of the J-pop girl group AKB48. Their seventh member is computer-generated and looks frighteningly real (although, perhaps, a little too perfect). She's a bit hard to spot immediately because, as Mr. Turnbull notes, "all the [human] members look quite fake!"

Just give Hatsune Miku a little time to evolve in this more photo-realistic direction and then see if there's a shred of realism remaining in the region's young female body image norms. The plastic surgeons there are really going to be busy.


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Japan's computer-generated and holographic beauty idols