What is a Dakimakura? Most people will know instantly just by looking at it, but how much do you really know about them?
Dakimakura (Hiragana: だきまくら; Kanji: 抱き枕) is a Japanese term for hugging pillows. However, the body pillow itself isn’t what has made these items popular over the years, it’s the pictures of the anime characters on the pillow cases.
There are many different Dakimakura cases available with male or female characters from anime and video games. Most, if not all, have two images of the character for both sides of the pillow. Sometimes the character is facing forward on both sides of the pillow, while other times the character may be facing forward on one side and backwards on the other. Many third party sellers make these cases themselves, so you can easily find popular characters in very erotic poses, even fully nude.
In Japan, some people sleep with Dakimakura like a security blanket. However, most people online know Dakimakura as the pillows that some Otaku fall in love with.
Unfortunately, it is true that some people fall in love with these. The argument is people fall in love with the anime character depicted on the pillow, and the pillow is used to touch the character they’re in love with. Either way it’s very unhealthy, but I don’t think the way to deal with it is to make fun of the person or belittle them. Of course, not all people who have these sort of pillows are in love with the character or anything of that nature.
Whatever the case may be, many people think it’s weird to even have a body pillow with any sort of image on it, especially some anime character. I think this is very unfair, and anyone should be able to buy or collect stuff related to their hobbies or likes without being discriminated against! I’ve made the same argument in my Defending Anime Figures post. But I should say that if you buy the overly sexualized pillow cases, you may want to hide them from the younger crowd.
I bought one a short while ago just to see what it’s like to have a Dakimakura. My family instantly thought it was weird (from ages 5 – 50+) even though the one I bought was fully clothed and didn’t appear sexual in the least bit. You can buy Dakimakura with one of four different types of fabric. The cheapest, and most common, is peach skin. It’s pretty soft and shiny, but it’s not flexible and not the softest it can be. On the flip side, it’s easy to wash! The best fabric to most is the Two Way Tricot. I hope to have examples of these four fabrics in the future. The zipper is hidden within the fabric at the bottom of the case so it doesn’t scratch you if you choose to hug up on the pillow. Honestly, I think it’s a nice addition if you want to have an anime theme or anime collectibles displayed in your room.
And that’s what a Dakimakura is! You can find more information on subculture terms just like this in my growing Otaku Encyclopedia. You can also buy many pillow cases (without the body pillow) online for $20-$50. Below are just a few examples from Amazon.