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Do you agree with Gentaro Araki?

Jul 24, 2007

    1. I ran across this youtube interview with Gentaro Araki, and I found that he expressed some pretty interesting points of view on BJDs in general. Some of these views are:

      "Dolls are like a lost part of yourself." Which can be found at 1:56 if you want to listen to his further explanation of this statement.

      "Dolls help the owner recreate thier existence." Found at 2:20

      "People like dolls because they are lonely." 3:09

      (Referring to himself) "I dont think anyone should give credit to someone who shuts himself up...making half or totally naked erotic dolls."

      Here's the link to the interview:

      But what I'm asking is: Do you necessarily agree with Gentaro Araki? Has it ever crossed your mind that dolls could be more than a hobby, but a lifestyle? How do you interpret dolls and the role they play in your life? Are they there for fun, or do you bring them to a personal level in your life?

      Please dont mistake me, I'm not trying to pry into anyones business. But this matter intrigued me because i also remember running across a show on the BBCA network about men in England who own the life-size dolls. And the majority of these men do take these dolls on a personal level and are supremely happy with themselves.

      I too, sometimes take my girl Vesper on a personal level. Somedays, I could get in a quarrel with a buddy and complain to Vesper or sometimes, it's just better to have her THERE.

      There are some statements that Araki makes that i disagree with, such as the 3rd that I have listed. I'm not lonely, but i just LOVE BJD's, and I canat necessarily help myself. But then again, I completely agree with the 2nd statement. I get to dress up Vesper in anyway I want, i could give her hair that i want, i could make her seem like a model in couture Paris!

      Thoughts, Opinions, and Feedback is welcomed!
      Again, I am not trying to pry into anyone's business. I think that everyone confides in thier doll sometime, whether it be temporary or something more.

      And is there anyone else who is intrigued about the behaviour that Araki speaks of? Because i know i am. o_o;

      The end. xD

      Sorry if i make ZERO sense guys, I just want to know other people's thoughts.
      And I understand that some could take this thread as something very personal. Im not trying to offend anybody.
    2. I think dolls, particularly BJDs, are a work of art. They are meant to be enjoyed as objects of beauty for a temporary distraction. But on the other hand, dolls are not meant to be replacements for human beings. Humans were meant to interact with each other on a personal level, so it is sad to me to hear Araki say that he shuts himself up and totally wraps himself in his dolls. Dolls are the embodiment of perfection for some; a little pretty person who will never say "no", never get sick or say they don't have time for you, and always aims to please you. It is better to seek out human interaction rather than trying to create or acquire the perfect doll; an object that can't hug you and say it loves you. I am not saying that dolls are bad, just that it's better to interact with people and work out any problems you may have with them.
    3. I see what he's saying from what you've quoted here. There are some people who could be cited as examples of "taking things too far" with dolls. No matter what hobby you're in, there will always be someone who takes it to an uncomfortable extreme.

      My dolls are just that, my dolls. I will cuddle them and kiss their little heads and sleep with them in my arms, but I am a naturally affectionate person and my pets and friends get the same kinds of treatment. I will admit that as a lonely only child, it is easier for me to understand people who vent to their dolls or talk things out or what have you, because my best friends as a little girl were my stuffed animals...this is merely an extension of that (and I still have my baby blanket [who I WILL talk to at length] and the vast majority of my stuffed animals, too...it's difficult for me even now, as an adult, to watch people give their dogs stuffed toys because I used to believe they were as real as they could be given their inanimate limitations, heh). But I don't harbour any delusions that they are anything but my toys, and they are happy to be my toys. I will admit that I sleep with Irian, my Volks MSD. I've always liked to sleep with something in my arms, and if it isn't her I have a couple other very sentimental stuffed animals. She DOES soothe me. When I'm ill I grab her and just cuddle...and then I'll feel better. It's the act that's psychologically comforting and I know that, rather than attributing some kind of consciousness to her. My dolls have personalities and whatnot, but I know it's my imagination. And I like flexing my imagination and making up dialogue between me and my dolls in my head while I take photos of them to post on my LJ. It's a form of entertainment and as an aspiring writer it's good exercise. I don't see it as being "lonely", I see it as being creative. Because I was a lonely child, but I am not a lonely adult.

      I am not sure about this "recreating their existence" comment. My dolls have different "lives" from me and they're not necessarily the lives I wish I had. Not a "lost part" of myself, either. It's just all in good fun, you know? But again, Araki may be speaking of the people who take things "too far".
    4. Well, I just watched the interview.. Personally, I can agree with him on a few things. I can relate to what he said about loneliness and about having the dolls welcome you back home after having a hard day.

      I always talk to my dolls as though they were real beings ( Yes. I'm a bit odd I guess ). I've often had trouble getting along with people in real life and people aren't necessarily as welcoming as they are. So I somewhat seek the comfort of being around my dolls when I need to.

      My dolls are mostly incarnations of my characters. I see them to have their own personality and background that I've created. Even though they aren't real, they're still somewhat a part of me. They're a part of my imagination and somewhat like my own creation.
    5. I have loved dolls and dressing up and beautiful, inanimate things my whole life. It is because I am lonely and imperfect.

      I even continue this with Visual Kei. It is the thing in my life I am most passionate about. It involves costumes and masking yourself from the rest of society.
      I do this with my doll. I know it isn't healthy and it isn't something I should embrace, but I just can't help it. My entire life I've been rejected and laughed at by people who posed as my friends. Dolls are perfect to me because they can never turn their back on me. A doll will always be there and it will always be able to remind me that there is an eternal, unconditional love that is waiting for me.

      I turn around and I try to put myself into my doll. When a person makes negative comments about my doll, it hurts me because she is something I see as holy and flawless.

      I'm trying to come up with more constructive things to say, but I feel like my personal problems are getting too caught up with me and it's interfering with making the best point possible. Sorry~.​
    6. I actually somewhat agree with Araki-san on the third question about being lonely. I saw the interview a few weeks ago and didn't think much of his statements on a philosophical level (mostly because I was staring and drooling at the one-offs he was posing through much of the interview), but I can relate to him on a certain level.

      Araki-san is the typical "middle-age otaku": single, due to his fear of speaking to women, and instead create women he can talk to and be close to. However, instead of making and playing dating sims (although I can't say he doesn't, I don't even know the man), he makes dolls.

      when I first became interested in BJDs around mid-October of last year, I was feeling lonely. my boyfriend had gone to college out of state and I was in a state where I didn't really talk to my friends. (lol, and no, I wasn't playing any dating simulators.) the dolls appealed to my loneliness, and I wanted one to be my companion. it seems ironic now that I chose a Unoa Lusis to ease my loneliness (even though I still don't have a complete one, I did have a hybrid for a few months), made by the same man who said that "people like dolls because they're lonely."

      I'm no longer lonely, as I talk to my friends (and Gary is home for the summer), but BJDs still appeal to me because I know they'll always be there for me. (or at least my Lusis will be when she arrives, and I know she's coming from a creator who made her with people's loneliness in mind.)
    7. For some people, yes, dolls can take the place of human companionship and I don't think that is healthy. But I think that instead of saying that the dolls are what causes a person to seek more and more perfect sculpts or stay at home working on them all day, it is a part of their personality that causes them to look at dolls instead of human beings.

      Similar to the culture of debt debate, I think it has more to do with a person and their mental state than the actual dolls themselves. A person who is impulsive and does not worry about financial consequences may get into debt from buying dolls on a credit card. A person who is uncomfortable dealing with other human beings but craves companionship may find themself drawn to dolls to fill the void. But it's the pre-existing mindset that determines how someone will act in relation to doll-collecting.
    8. There are somethings I agree with, and some I don't. The being lonely part is a very big generalization--I'm sure there are plenty of people who love dolls and aren't lonely (Personally, I don't have dolls because I'm lonely, though when I am by myself, it is comforting to have them around me).

      However, they are very very personal to me. A number of my dolls embody some of my orginal characters, and those characters are a part of me. Weather something is a lifestyle vs a hobby--I don't know. It would depend on what you consider the differences between them to be. My dolls are more than just dolls to me, I do connect with them on a very personal level. The way I view my dolls, does tie into some of my spiritual beliefs (that an inanimate object can have somekind of soul or spirit attached to it), so I suppose maybe I walk the line between hobby and lifestyle.

      However, I do not shun humanity in favor of hanging out with my dolls. Infact, the bjds have caused me to become more social, since I've gotten to meet people through this hobby.
    9. I'm a fairly lonely person IRL, I mean, I have friends, but I don't get to see them a lot. I think, for me, Shoko fills that empty space when they're not around. I can talk to her, whine and complain to her, confide in her, give her attention that I'd be giving to other people and feel accomplished when I do something good for her. I guess I'm kindof childish still, because, as kids, myself and my other friends found our confidents were our dolls. And, unlike humans, dolls listen but don't judge you for what you do. And when you're done they're still looking at you, smiling or whatever gesture they have, but not pushing you away.

      Also, I'm a big fan of astetic things and art, and BJDs fall into that category :3

      As for dolls helping recreate ones existance.... when you talk to a doll you talk without fear of being judged or sounding silly. You speak truthfully as yourself and not someone you're trying to be. You solidify who you are and these moments help retain your existance and not that of whoever you pretend to be when you're in public.

      But, at the same time, there is no real way to replace human interaction or the friends you make in the real world. Those things are necessary too. Though people make friends through links of similar things between them, they bond. And dolls give us something as that common link/bond to work from. When you see someone else carrying around a doll a connection is started in some way, shape, or form. So in turn, these dolls can help us to make friends in the human world.
    10. "Dolls are like a lost part of yourself."
      I can agree to this, actually. ^^ I was always outside playing or doing sports, hanging out... and though I had collectible Barbies, I can't say that I played with them very much. The only time they ever came out, was when there was a friend over who wanted to play with them. After I turned 12, they were all put away.

      So I believe he could be right. ^_^ It's a part of my childhood that I didn't really experience, since most of my childhood was developed outside ~ being social with friends, and going out.

      I enjoy creating characters now, for pure pleasure. And developing a doll's personality, but I think that also has to do with my love for inanimate objects. ^^;;

      "Dolls help the owner recreate thier existence."
      I guess he could be right here again.

      I can't say I've ever been a boy, or like a boy. But most of my dolls are boys, so I develop characters and imagine what it would be like to live through them. I can't say I rp them (though I'm sure it could be fun, its not my style), but I'm sure I would feel a deeper connection if I were to.

      "People like dolls because they are lonely."
      I believe that this statement depends entirely upon the individual owner.

      I have an active social life. I live with my boyfriend and my friends, I go out on weekends, and have a limited amount of time to spend with my dolls. So I have to say that loneliness isn't the reason I'm in this hobby.

      On the other hand, I do have a tendency of grabbing Kiba when I'm watching movies with my boyfriend, to cuddle a bit. I'm an affectionate person by nature, so showing my favorite doll love, is just an extension of that. ^____^

      (Referring to himself) "I dont think anyone should give credit to someone who shuts himself up...making half or totally naked erotic dolls."
      This is actually one of my favorite quotes pertaining to him! 8D

      He's human; he has a sense of humor. He knows it can be seen strangely that he spends so much time making beautifully erotic dolls, and yet he's humble enough to make fun of himself. :D

      Some artists have tendencies toward eroticism. You see it in some of our most famous paintings and sculptures in the world. I don't judge, so to me ~ his likes [or anyone's likes] or obsessions are purely natural. Purely artistic. And art is freedom.

    11. You know, when I watched that interview, the parts you pulled out were not ones that made me think. They were things that I think are almost implied with this type of doll. It always seemed to me that their basis was to explore different facets of yourself through your dolls.

      What intrigued me more was the beginning of the interview, about Why are these dolls beautiful? What makes us feel they are human, when if they WERE human they would be grotesque?
      It's a different discussion completely.
      (Really, I think I'm trying to say that I would like to hear some responses to this too. XD)​
    12. Another discussion, perhaps? :)
    13. I somewhat agree with most of the statements that Araki makes. Some people find it more difficult to relate to others, and I don't think that's necessarily a "sickness", just a part of someone's personality. Someone can be surrounded by friends and family, and still be lonely for SOMETHING. For a lot of people, dolls satisfy the yearning for that undefined "other" that they are missing. I don't see anything wrong with that.

      As an aside, I read an article about Realdoll, expecting to read about a bunch of pervs. Instead, I was incredibly humbled to find that there are people out there who ARE that lonely. What if you were terribly burned or deformed and no one wanted to touch you? What if your only companion was the mute doll that lies in your bed at night to keep you warm?
    14. I'd like to address this from a personal level and remark on each statement you shared.

      "Dolls are like a lost part of yourself." Which can be found at 1:56 if you want to listen to his further explanation of this statement.
      ~~~~~~~~~~In a way I agree with this. Though it's not so much a "lost" part, as a part which needs a way to express itself. Like any other creative endeavor, for me the dolls are a path for self expression. Muses as it were.~~~~

      "Dolls help the owner recreate thier existence." Found at 2:20
      ~~~~My dolls don't necessarily recreate my existence, or experience, though sometimes that is the case. Mostly, they give flight to my fantasies, they become characters in a world I don't live in, nor experience first-hand.~~~~~~

      "People like dolls because they are lonely." 3:09
      ~~~~~~~~~~This is definately not the case for me. I am not lonely, I have loads of friends and make friends easily. I am sure this may be true for some, but it doesn't apply to me.~~~~~~~~~~~

      (Referring to himself) "I dont think anyone should give credit to someone who shuts himself up...making half or totally naked erotic dolls."
      ~~~~~~~~I am honestly not sure what he means by this statement. However, if someone is avoiding contact with REAL people by enveloping themselves in a world of dolls, or if the dolls are a replacement for real human relationship, then to me, that is potentially a symptom of some underlying social problem..~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    15. Here, here ~ gayle.
    16. I think the statement that Gentaro Araki makes, "I don't think anyone should give credit to someone who shuts himself up...making half or totally naked erotic dolls." is one to keep in mind when considering his other opinions. How we treat our dolls and our relationship with dolls are personal. It depends on our individual situations and interaction with others. Gentaro Araki is a very lonely man and all this statements will probably apply mostly or only somewhat to people in similar situations as he is in.

      Personally, his first three statements do not apply to myself with my doll.

      As for his behaviour, I do find it intriguing. I also find it somewhat unhealthy. While dolls provide a measure of comfort to this man and to many, the very problem is, in the end, the dolls can't respond back. Our imagination provides what the dolls lack, but in the end, I do believe we by nature need real interaction. To find comfort in the dolls is a great thing, but if that's all one has in life and there's really no one else to turn to at all...I think it might not always be good for the human psyche. However, this is just my personal opinion and it isn't a judgment of anyone who might be in the same situation as Gentaro Araki.
    17. I don't think he necessarily meant that dolls are for lonely people with no friends and no social life. I think he meant it on a more esoteric level in which we are all trees in a wood connected only by shifting mist, and hence are all on some level lonely by virtue of not being able to be inside one another's minds.

      Dolls are only what we wish them to be and live only in a world that is everything we imagine, which even for the most glamorous, successful, gorgeous, wealthy people is simply not the case in our lives. There are hundreds of different expressions of idealistic, impossible fantasies, and certainly much of the art that has been created in man's history has served to give people something that is human and yet more than real... Just ask Caravaggio ;)

      As for giving himself credit, I think that is hard for many artists, and I would agree that if you read his blog it's clear that Gentaro Araki is a man with a few issues. I do think, however, that having the bravery and talent to create something out of that is a rare thing, and furthermore, that many of us get great joy out of his half or completely naked dolls. I think despite his typically masochistic Japanese attitude, deep down inside he knows this.
    18. I mostly agree with him. He seems to have given a lot of thought about why people are attracted to dolls and has used that knowledge to create his beautiful art dolls. I can see that I, myself, am attracted only to dolls that "speak" to me in some way. Any characters or personalities I make up for my dolls to have are probably aspects of myself. (I've been in therapy...can you tell? LOL) There are undoubtedly people who are unhealthily involved with their hobbies (not necessarily dolls) to the exclusion of relating to other people. Making any kind of art is often a solitary and lonely endeavor and he seems to have ambivalent feelings about it. I think people have dolls for all sorts of reasons; to display as art, to use as creative outlets, to competitively accumulate, to relate to in lieu of friends or family, to play with...there are probably more. Whatever floats your boat.
    19. I loved that interview. I am especially intrigued by his statement that shutting oneself up to make erotic dolls is not ideal, and that perhaps he would be healthier and/or happier if he were out there "chasing the ass of real girls" or raising a real family. And yet, of course, he has persisted in making dolls.

      Now, for me personally, I do not think that being obsessed with dolls, even to the point of abandoning a real social life, is necessarily unhealthy. For me, the defining issue is whether one is aware (as Araki is) that dolls are not real, that dolls are objects mirroring oneself and not independent companions, and that (for better or worse) dolls cannot replace or replicate real human society. To me, it's not insane to decide to shun human companionship for the company of dolls - but one must not become deluded into thinking that friendship among dolls is the same thing as human friendship! If you decide to ignore this part of situation and believe that the dolls can be for you just as humans are, then I think you're just ripping yourself off.

      Coming back to Araki's statement - the key thing about "chasing the ass of real girls" versus dolls is risk. A real girl's ass belongs, presumably, to her, and though one may pursue it there is the risk of rejection. A doll and its ass belongs to its owner. Absolutely no risk of rejection. But there's also no possibility of reciprocated love/lust. So, yes, you can choose dolls over people if you want, but you can't have your cake and eat it too. No risk, no loss - but no gain.

      But I can interpret this differently. "I don't think anyone should give credit to someone who shuts himself up...making half or totally naked erotic dolls," says Araki. And yet, aren't those dolls beautiful? Aren't they art? If he did not indulge in this impulse, if he did go out and have a normal lifestyle with a wife and children, wouldn't the world lose out on these lovely dolls?

      It's possible to have both a vibrant social life and to make great art. I certainly don't believe in the stereotype of the tormented genius, whereby angst begets miraculous skill or vice versa. And for all the lonely but brilliant artists remembered by history, I'm sure there are many more who chose their art over social normalcy and ended up with nothing more than a pile of crappy art and who've been subsequently entirely forgotten. But, if you were to give me the choice between creating things of beauty and having an ideal social life, with a happy marriage and two kids and a dog and yadda yadda - you can bet I'd choose the art. A certain degree of obsession is necessary for creation, and if that obsession eclipses other areas of life - well, to me, it's a small sacrifice.
    20. Regarding Araki's comment about shutting himself up and making dolls..... most working artists shut themselves away, wrapped up in their art, whether they are painting, weaving, or making dolls. Artists are often solitary folk because creating new things is a process that is not easily shared.

      I have close friends and a family that loves me, but I am still lonely much of the time. My dolls are wonderful, beautiful objects that make me happy, but they are by no means a replacement for a real person, or an animal companion. I don't use my dolls as characters, though they do have "personas" (rather than personalities, which living beings have) and when I want to just hang out with a doll, my choice does depend on my mood.

      I am not sure there is a comparison between RealDoll owners and BJD fans. I would love a RealDoll, if I had the cash, but she would be a fabulous mannequin for me, not my new BFF! While we can lavish affection on our possessions, buying them great clothes and wigs, they cannot return it.