Japanese Photo Booth Magic: Purinto Kurabu

On March 27, 2016 by Tim Newman

Purinto Kurabu Alien Eyes 1

Selfies. Ahhhh… everyone hates them, but no one seems to be able to resist taking them.

It’s a strange new phenomena and, although there is a lot of hate bubbling up about them, they are here. Forever.

Selfies are with us. They are not going away. The selfie has become more than a photo of you, it has become a stamp in time to prove you were there, a risky joke, a demonstration of attractiveness, a declaration of “FML,” evidence of your dearly held zany self.

Of course, selfies are not the private domain of England, or Europe, or even the Western world. They are global. If you don’t believe me, click here for a selfie taken in every country on earth.

And, if something is popular, you can guarantee someone will monetize it. For selfies this has proven difficult, thanks to the mobile phone. But, there is a way – the photo booth, known in Japan as Purinto Kurabu.

Purinto Kurabu, roughly translates from the English “print club” and refers to a particularly Japanese-style photo booth.

These are not just boring old passport style photo booths, though; these bad boys take photos, digitally manipulate them, and print them out as a series of glitzy stickers to share with your nearest and dearest.

The concept hasn’t caught on much in Europe, but Asian teens have gone wild for these sycophantic memory-generators. As Wikipedia so deftly explains:

“The purikura machines were developed in response to young women’s interest in both photography and stickers.”

Yup… You know girls, don’t you? They’re all about stickers and photos, aren’t they? They just can’t get enough stickers and photos. What if we could combine stickers and photos? What a wonder that would be for the gentler gender… hang on a minute… PHOTO STICKERS… DAH DAH! The Purikura Kurabu, or (Purikura for short) was born.

Starting in Japan, the machines have spread to Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, China, Vietnam, and Thailand. Now, machines are appearing in the US, Canada, and Australia, too.

Here’s an example of a Purikura Kurabu booth in Fukushima:

Purikura Kurabu - photo booth

Any way, what is important for the sake of this post isn’t the popularity of Purinto Kurabu, no, it’s the way in which Japanese teens want their selfies to be modified; particularly in the eye region.

The teens want big, manga-style alien eyes. It’s brilliant. As an example, this is what Mona Lisa looks like when she’s given the purikura treatment:

Purinto Kurabu - Mona Lisa

It’s a fairly subtle change, really, it softens the edges, and brightens and enlarges the eyes. Simple. But, when viewed en masse, it can be a terrifying thing.

Here is a collection of some of these strange, in-machine purikura edits for your pleasure. There are some true wonders in here:

Purinto Kurabu 2 Purinto Kurabu 3 Purinto Kurabu 4 Purinto Kurabu 5 Purinto Kurabu 6 Purinto Kurabu 7 Purinto Kurabu 8 Purinto Kurabu 9 Purinto Kurabu 10 Purinto Kurabu 11 Purinto Kurabu 12 Purinto Kurabu 13 Purinto Kurabu 14 Purinto Kurabu 15 Purinto Kurabu 16 Purinto Kurabu 17





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