It's in the psycho-sexual realm that things really get weird. Lolita "Roricon" complexes, cosplay, mask fetish and extreme S&M are just the tip of the riceberg. Combine the three and you get something beyond weird, even for Japan: Kegadol. Loosely translated as "Injured Idol", Kegadol images feature pretty young women in casts, bandages, eyepatches... or all of the above (oh joy!).
It's not clear where this kinda creepy Kegadol trend began, though there does seem to be a longstanding erotic fringe that appreciates injured females. References to 1970s Penthouse Forum articles extolling "monopede mania" and primal primate protective programming are markers on a rough trail that few follow - but "few" is more than none. Here's how Peter Payne of JLIST explains the Japanese eyepatch fetish:
"Almost everyone has an eye infection or disease at some point [in Japan], and for that reason eyepatches are a common sight. Recently eye-patches have become a staple in anime culture as well, with eyepatch wearing characters appearing in such anime as Neon Genesis Evangelion, Battle Vixens, Lone Wolf and Cub, Fullmetal Alchemist, Bleach, D.Gray Man and others, where an eyepatch adds something mysterious and distinctive to the character."
Which is something Hello Kitty and Tarantino picked up:
Some say the modern Kegadol movement in Japan was set off by the injured action figure version of manga character Rei Ayanami (or Ryomou Shimei from Ikkitousen), who sports multiple bandages and a nifty eyepatch:
Others point to a more recognized fetish that venerate models in surgical masks:
Regardless of its origins, Kegadol has a small but devoted cabal of fans and it's not my place to judge their preferences even though the appeal of this particular fetish completely escapes me. Hey, as long as they aren't causing these injuries, all's well in my book! Naturally, the Internet has brought Kegadol to the attention of the wider world. Dedicated sites such as Gips (from the German word for "Gypsum", a material used in casts) invite the like-minded to view a varied cast of models (pardon the pun), idols and office girls with this Engrish come-on which manages to read as both ominous and endearing:
"Welcome! To the JAPANESE cast site
Here depends on the cast mania who loves/the cast and be the site for a cast mania.
The entrance of one is restricted of below 18 years old, because it is including the Adult image of part.
Are you over 18 years old and be interested in the cast?"
Here are some pictures to give you an idea of what's inside:
I think we have to thank Japan for making our world a little bit more interesting. Check back here often for more Japanese weirdness or subscribe to the RSS feed to receive them!
This article was written by Steve Levenstein from InventorSpot. Steve writes about weird Japanese innovations and you can catch up on previous weirdness from his site. If you are interested in contributing to the thinking process and become a guest writer on The Thinking Blog, find out more information here and be my guest!