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Unicare unveils 'anti-loneliness' hugging chair

34 Comments

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34 Comments
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That doll is rather creepy. Do they have a life-size Erika Sawajiri version?

12 ( +14 / -2 )

How truly asinine this is. Any excuse to not develop social skills, whether it be hiding behind a surgical mask, hidng in your office pretending to work all Friday night, or this infantile hug-me-I'm-lonely-and-I can't-imagine-whose-fault-that-is chair, and a certain segment of coddled urbanites in this country will lap it up.

It really is quite pathetic. Grow up and talk to people instead of chanting the required pleasantries and you might not need a chair to hug you. Stop wallowing in your own inner dread of everything around you. It isn't an attractive quality.

4 ( +17 / -13 )

Such a cold society.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

But you could never turn the light off in that room.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

After this chair gives me a hug, makes me feel special, and then after I get up, he just goes on and hugs the next person like I never mattered... I feel empty again.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Because it's better to buy that chair than to actually hug a friend.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Any excuse to not develop social skills

Maybe you need to develop a few reading skills. It's aimed at the elderly, who are not hiding in the office behind a surgical mask pretending to work all Friday night. These are people not likely to do much growing up, more likely going the other way descending into a second childhood, probably a bit senile, maybe left alone in the world, needing a bit of a lift. If a funny-looking chair helps even a little bit, what's it to you? Maybe you'd be happier if you tried chanting a few of those pleasantries instead of finding fault with everything around you. It isn't an attractive quality.

3 ( +14 / -11 )

I'd love to see real people hugging real people here - something I genuinely think Japan lacks. Still, this could bring a smile and a laugh to some old folk - so a nice novelty!

9 ( +11 / -2 )

It really is quite pathetic. Grow up and talk to people instead of chanting the required pleasantries and you might not need a chair to hug you. Stop wallowing in your own inner dread of everything around you. It isn't an attractive quality.

Well, surely much easier said than done. Why do people assume that everyone makes friends easily? I've never been good at it myself, but at least was lucky enough to find a nice husband who hugs me. There are so many different people out there, some are self-confident, some are very shy. That's the way it is, you can not dictate someone else's character. I've heard people calling other people loosers, because they were too shy. Makes them looking very arrogant, in my opinion. So, why not buy this chair if it makes you happy? Apart from that, the chair is actually designed for older people, imagine your partner with whom you had been living together for 60 years dies, must be suddenly a terribly lonely feeling at home. Threw my own grandma into depressions.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

While I think 'HaraldBloodaxe' may have been a bit harsh in his assessment, I think he raises a point several commenters have mentioned. Wouldn't it be nice if they elderly had someone real that could hug them or talk them? I can't blame the elderly if most of their children/grandchildren have moved to urban centers and don't take the time to call, etc. If this hugging chair can bring them a little happiness and an extra smile, I don't think it's harmful. I make a point to hug my friends(Japanese, etc) and call them when I can. I've been living here 11 years and yes, at first, some of my Japanese friends were surprised by the affection but they've grown accustomed to it and now naturally do it themselves.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

This is as sad as it is creepy! But, I guess it's no more creepy than the anime cuddle pillow. I guess it's quite fitting for an island nation of 130 million strangers.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Downside of Japan....

1 ( +3 / -2 )

This is first time to comment, so I may not be as prolific as others.

The words used by previous posters may have been written with emotional undertones that cause negative reactions.

However, there is a lot of truth in observation of actions.

Yes the chairs were designed to be marketed for elderly. Does that mean someone not elderly will be prohibited from buying one? Would the company pass up opportunities for profit?

A large number of youth in urban areas of Japan, both male and female have taken to electronic forms of companionship for numerous reasons. Would the possibility to add something physical, yet controllable to their virtual relationships not be appealing?

In a country that is declining in population do to a high rate of senior citizens and low birthrates, hasn't it been shown there are issues preventing effective social interaction with other people instead of manufactured surrogates?

Those disclaiming what others have written as derogatory, please provide a guru styled master plan to save the proud Japanese nation which in all intents and purposes is dwindling.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Cleo,

There is nothing wrong with my reading skills. I saw that it was designed for the elderly. I have, however, lived here long enough to know the way these things go.

I'll give it two weeks before this thing appears on a TV panel show, and a squeaky-voiced, insipid tarento sits in one (having observed at length how kawaii it looks) and then sits in it and goes into rapture about how nice it feels, hagu hagu, hagu hagu.

Then every inadequate and her dressed-up chihuahuas will want one. And they'll sit at home, on their own, every night eating little cakes until they reache the target age group for the bloody chair.

This is why we're living with a demographic timebomb. Somehow it's considered acceptable to be squeaky and frail and stand-on-one-leg-with-your-neck-bent-for-a-photo instead of acting like a grown up and developing social skills. This timidity and sociophobic dread of everyone around you is a profoundly irritating compulsion. The country would be a lot better off if people were discouraged from it, but no, we have to pretend it's endearing. It isn't. it gets right on my nerves.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

It really is quite pathetic.

It's brilliance on the part of this company. They identified a potential market, and created a product to meet that market. I'd be surprised if they don't make a good bit of cash on this.

I wish I had thought of it.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

HaraldBloodaxe - you base your judgement of all things Japanese on squeaky-voiced insipid tarentos on TV talent shows?? None of the people I interact with on a daily basis are squeaky and frail, I have never seen one of them stand on one leg neck bent for a photo instead of acting like an adult, they are not timid (nor pushy), nor do they have a sociophobic dread of anything. While a lot of them are dog-owners, they take their (many and varied, not a one of them has a chihuahua) dogs out and exercise them instead of sitting in front of the telly eating cakes.

Maybe you need to get out more and meet some real people instead of watching all those insipid TV shows?

1 ( +10 / -9 )

This many times seem to be the Japanese solution to everything: spend hard earned money on something that normal, human contact would solve just fine. Invent gadgets that no one really needs and market them for the gullible. Japan would do well with some good old fashioned use of feelings and emotions from humans.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

“Real animals can scratch and poo, but this one won’t,” said a demonstrator at the Paro stand.

hahahahaha!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

As Strangerland comments above, it's a brilliant product to come out with in a place where so many people are so desperately lonely. I'm just saying it's regrettable that such a thing isn't laughed out of the market by a population accustomed to behaving like adults. Can you imagine trying to sell this in Poland, or Columbia, or Germany? You'd get punched in the mouth for suggesting somebody needed one.

I will give it six months before a range of cute costumes comes out you can dress the chairs up in.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Cleo,

Maybe you need to get out more and meet some real people instead of watching all those insipid TV shows?

Isn't that what could replace stupid things like a hugging chair?

HaraldBloodaxe- you hit it on the head really. It gets on my nerves too, but a lot of people eat it up. Unicare spent a lot of time,"research"(term used loosely) and money to push out a temporary distraction. Then, they can put the real problem off for a while longer. The article is addressed to the elderly but the problem is with all generations. I mean there are lap pillows, shoulder pillows, virtual GFs/BFs even a creepy robot teacher. If there is a market for these things, then there is also a problem.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Just marking time until cuddly robots become available...!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

If the concept of euthanasia gains hold among elderly people in Japan, this company could then develop a "strangling chair".

2 ( +5 / -3 )

and of course the doll must be caucasian ...

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Don't want to lower the tone, but I think a comparison with sex dolls is apt: some people need emotion and passion in a relationship, others simply the physical sensation. A bit like scratching an itch.

If this product genuinely supplies its users with the seratonin and its associated emotions, then fair enough and good luck to them. If it's all about the physical for you, then go for it.

You wouldn't mock a toddler for cuddling a teddy bear.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

People need to stop surrogating real senses, emotions and care with creepy, artificial dolls and robots. It's just awful and inhumane.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I think a lot of people here are seriously overestimating how widespread this thing will be. I'd be surprised if it didn't disappear completely, let alone get any use outside of elderly homes. They might make offhanded comments like "kawaii" but in reality I think the majority of Japanese people would be creeped out by this and wouldn't be caught dead with it.

Like robots, anime/lap pillows, etc. the fact that it exists or makes Japan Today doesn't mean it's all the rage or anything close to it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

People we need to ban products like this and start hugging random strangers

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I think MrBum is right. It's too embarrassing/weird to use, why not just get a massage chair? With senile elderly it could be dangerous, they might panic from the squeeze instead of feeling comforted by it. Maybe a few novelty-seekers will buy it, but I can't imagine it catching on in nursing homes really...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Lucabrasi, you sir are absoutely right. You wouldn't mock a toddler for cuddling a teddy bear.

You would, however, hope that people would grow up and develop more age-appropriate tendencies to deal with loneliness.

it really is only one step away from buying a Fleshlight.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

With a bit of fine tuning, that chair looks like it would be handy for the Heimlich Manoeuvre.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

A little strange, is the fact that it is marketed towards the elderly who especially may be alone, and acknowledges that hugging has positive emotional, physical therapeutic value that would likely be welcomed by the aged recipient.

But as others have stated, no-where is there a mention that hugging in real life as a custom of affection,warmth and trust should be practised.

I would never advocate the imposing of other cultural values, ie hugging onto the Japanese populace at large, but something inside me tells me that touch (hugging) is an innate human characteristic that we all feel for, and it is only by the moral / cultural / religious / autoctratic imperialism of societies heads that this joy of life has been subjugated.

The hugging chair is a quik-fix - let's rekindle the lifelong warmth of touch.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Unicare unveils 'anti-loneliness' hugging chair

Really, a hugging chair for loneliness?!

Will someone kick humanity hard and wake it the **** up from it's silliness!

What's next robot partners to relieve the stress? Oh wait, that is already being sold.......

If you need a hug from a chair, well then you have problems.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I think it is a good idea for the elderly. For young people, it's creepy.

But I tell all those people that criticize how cold Japanese society is and say: Go out!, stop isolating yourself, go talk and hug REAL people and all those pieces of advice. Start yourself, Invite your colleague at work for a dinner in your home, go visit the elderly in homes and brought them flowers, music, or a movie to watch with them, Invite your neighbor to tea. How do you like that? are you going to do it?

It is easy to criticize people for being anti social, scared or superficial, however, he have more and more Hikikomori. The thing is What do you do about it? are you as social as you expect timid person to be?. Did you defend your classmate being bullied?. It is all talk, after all.

You cannot expect that people change attitude overnight, you can, instead of criticize, stop these phenomena (hugging chairs, embrace pillows, robotic pets) from spreading to those of the population who should not need it. You don't have to do much, just little by little, thing s that you can do, you don't have to be heroic o make great gestures, you can do what you can (Just a little phrase I took from Kamen Rider OOO)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I prefer my two dogs.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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