A small theme park “Photo Sticker Machines” -a look into the world of “beautifying”- Part 1

-Select a favorite picture from the ones displayed on the screen. At this point already, the pictures seem shockingly beautiful …I mean, cute.-

Photo sticker machines have established a solid market among young women, mostly female high school students. They are evolving and changing on daily basis. Here, I report on the latest news on Photo sticker machines, which can be considered a small theme park in itself, and the culture of “beautifying.”

“winc” image

■Tyring out “winc”-relaxed feel-!

“Japan Amusement Expo 2017” was held in Makuhari Messe between February 10th and 12th. “winc” booth was on display at the event. It is a new Photo sticker machines by FURYUCorporation (subsequently, FURYU), set to go on market in the middle of this month. There was a long line of people, mostly women, who were trying to check out its newest functions.


“winc” booth (FURYU)

I also tried the Photo sticker machines for the first time in a long while, perhaps 10 years. Upon entering, my first thought was, “spacious, and large!”. First Photo sticker machines appeared around 1995. According to GIRLS’TREND LAB director Ryoko Inagaki, “the footprint of current Photo sticker machines is about 1.7m x 3m, with the height of about 2.2m. The first Photo sticker machines had nearly 10 times the volume, and cost 3 times more.”
The interior looks clean.

GIRLS’TREND LAB director Ryoko Inagaki, “winc” unit stands next to her.

Entering the photo booth (the subjects are FURYUstaff)

The inside of the photo booth.

Next, check the position of the face and take a picture. The camera is located slightly diagonally up. Apparently, this allows for the chin to look slimmer, compared to taking a picture from directly in front of the face. In addition to the lights in the front, back, and side, there is one located diagonally below the face. There is abundance of lighting.
After taking a few shots, you move into the “doodling booth,” where you can modify your images. By not having the users occupy the shooting area for a prolonged period, the store can increase the turnover rate. In turn, having to move to another space brings excitement for the users. It is true; I did feel excited. This is a creative solution to a flow of service.

You can adjust the size and brightness of your eyes and face by looking at the preview of finished images. I did take my own pictures, and already at this point, the pictures seemed shockingly beautiful …I mean, cute (incidentally, the author is male). Modifications can be made to the images from a variety of choices. From the appearance of the eyes, color on the lips, to adding hats or animal ears, and even writing messages.
It took 5-10 minutes to finish. There are so many options, and the process was really fun. I thought it was fitting to call it “a small theme park.”

Selecting the appearance of the eyes.

Adding text to the image.

Photo stickers are done.

The tone of the make-up fits the current trend. The theme of “winc” machine is the “relaxed feel.”By “relaxed feel,” it means that while looking perfectly in order, there is a natural-looking stylishness with appropriate amount of looseness. An unstructured airiness of the hair, powdered skin, a glistening look in the eye created with a round light, and a blood-color on the cheek.

Ms. Inagaki says it was difficult to come up with these elements to give the “relaxed feel.” In particular, to show “slight coloration,” like the color of good blood circulation, rather than the “painted” look, on the cheeks was extremely difficult. In addition, since many users share these images on social media, she had to consider not making the data too large.

The pictures created on Photo sticker machines in this way, end up looking significantly edited compared to how the person really looks. This addition is the act of “beautify.”

Comparing standard picture and Photo sticker machines picture.

A finished image on “winc”.

■Photo sticker machines keywords: “to beautify (Moru),” “beautified (Moreteru),” and “beautify-able (Moreru).”

For young women in the digital era, the act of “beautify (Moru)” is normal. When girls try to make themselves look better than they actually do through make-up, taking pictures on Photo sticker machines, or using apps on a smartphone to edit images, it is called “beautifying (Moru).” It is similar to “editing.” While make-up is considered “real beautify,” Photo sticker machines is considered “virtual beautify.” It is about aiming to look cute based on their favorite trend.
When the editing accomplished ideally, it “beautified (Moreteru).” The state of being “beautified (Moreteru)” is defined as: best image of self = can still be recognize as self. If the image looks like someone else, or does not represent oneself, then it is considered overdone, thus, “poorly beautified (Moretenai).”
They call Photo sticker machines that allows them to produce idealistic images, “Photo sticker machines that is able to beautify (Moreru Photo sticker machines).”

In short, young women are aiming to achieve the state of “being beautified (Moreteru)” through the act of “beautify (Moru).” To this end, they look to “Photo sticker machines that is able to beautify (Moreru Photo sticker machines).”

Women share “beautified” photo stickers with each other and on social media. They share what they created, and create more when they receive new inspiration. This is a cycle. Photo sticker machines has become their communication tool.

To have “beautified (Moreteru)” photo stickers is a proof that they are in touch with the trend. Ms. Inagaki points out that for them, “being beautified (Moreteru)” is a validation of their hard work.

According to the collaborative study between “GIRLS’TREND LAB” and the University of Tokyo, the word “Moru (to beautify)” was first introduced in the November, 2013 issue of “Ranzuki” magazine (published by Bunka-sha), in the “Photo sticker machines special” feature.

There is a trend in the act of “beautify (Moru).” Next time, I will discuss the changing trends of Photo sticker machines.

FURYU Corporation website

>>Part 2

>>Part 3

(Article by: Kenichi Nakamura)

Fields Research Institute (FRI) conducts research in entertainment.
This article was written by a member of FRI, through the original coverage of his/her interests observed in their daily lives.


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