Japanese Purikura photo booths that produce selfies that you can decorate and print are at least a decade older than Snapchat filters. At around $ 3.50 per inhabitant, they still attract hordes of Tokyo teenagers.
NPR Code Switch reporter Kat Chow and I gave Purikura – the word is a mashup of the Japanese Purinto Kurabu or “Print Club” – a try. A couple of teenage girls in Tokyo’s Harajuku neighborhood advised us on how to optimize our experience.
But it was good to have a race and culture reporter on hand: in the end, we found that the instant changes to the images in these photo booths raise some questions about what is considered beautiful in the eyes of the Japanese.