Most of the customers are adult men. Weird, huh?
Trottla is a Japanese company that produces and sells child-sized, life-like dolls. They’re made to feel and look like real children and come with heating instructions and moveable joints. Before you berate me for immediately assuming these dolls are for paedophiles; there is no male counterpart, they wear underwear that looks like it was found on the central reservation of the M25 and – oh, yeah – just look at the fucking pictures.
The company clearly states that the dolls are not to be used for sexual purposes, but if they're just kids' toys, why the hell would you dress them up in matching white lace lingerie sets and give them teeny weeny awkward nipples? The photo galleries used to promote the dolls on the manufacturer's website are also enough to creep out even the hardiest internet veteran.
Generally, it is legal to produce, sell and buy these dolls in the UK, though obviously the lines begin to blur when it comes to their usage and how they’re displayed. How is there a loophole in UK law big enough for a life-size child sex doll to fit through? I caught up with Shin Takagi, the owner of Trottla and the guy who makes the dolls, to find out how his business continues to operate.
VICE: Hey guys. So how are Trottla dolls made?
Shin Takagi: We produce most parts of the dolls ourselves because a lot of the parts aren’t available commercially. It requires a lot of time to fully reproduce the movement of the human body. Its skin is soft like a marshmallow and is made of the closest material to human skin. The whole process requires great risk. Our dolls are the only dolls in the world that will substitute a human girl.
Why, though? What are they for?
I cannot be precise in my answer to this. The purpose of the doll differs with each customer and the customer is free to use the doll in any way they wish.
So I'm guessing it's not for kids... Is it a sex toy?
This is the customer’s choice. However, we do prohibit the dolls being used as sexual objects commercially, as they are very realistic and could be mistaken for real children. We pray for the security of our customers and they may be put in danger if they do not treat the doll with caution.
So home sex is fine, but no porn?
That’s right, unless it is a part of the expression of art – I am the producer, so I will perform the judgement. The doll’s sexual function has not been installed, anyway.
This isn't creepy, though. This is totally fine.
Will you be installing “sexual functions” into the dolls?
No, because children do not perform sexual intercourse.
What if you see that a doll has been used for porn?
I would stop after-sale service, such as repair. Forever.
Why don't you make male dolls?
We do not manufacture male dolls because the demand is small. Most customers are men and I think it is natural to lean towards the opposite sex. Therefore our orders are limited to girls. However, we do sell a small collection of boys' clothing – dressing up the dolls is one of the greatest pleasures of the customer.
You refuse to ship to North Korea, China, Israel or “countries with policies against Japan" – why is that?
We are the people of Japan, and China, South Korea and North Korea have been recognised as clear enemies. We cannot agree to deal with the enemy. Israel is not the enemy, however idolatry is a violation of the Jewish religion and we pay tribute to the religious beliefs of others. We do not want conflict with them. Also, safe transportation of the dolls cannot be secured in such a place.
Do you think you might get into legal trouble if you sold a doll to a customer in Israel?
I cannot predict this. It is important to respect their doctrine.
How many dolls do you sell to people in the UK?
I sell a small amount of dolls to the UK. I know that the laws in the UK regarding the usage of sex toys and dolls are a little different to the laws in Japan, so I think our UK buyers have more conservative uses for Trottla dolls. I treat my dolls like I would my own daughters and I agree with these ideas. Using the doll as a sex toy isn’t really for our British buyers, or myself.
Why do you think people in the UK have a different view on your dolls compared to people in Japan?
Japan is a special country and we have special skills. However, we don’t have very good business skills because our aim isn't to make money. People in Britain appreciate design. Like your cars – you have Lotus and TVR, which are reserved and sleek. They're not Ferraris. My dolls are like TVRs.
Profound. Do you know of any UK based companies that sell a similar product to your dolls?
My dolls are the only kind in the world and I'm not interested in any other companies that sell similar dolls to mine. My dolls, including their internal systems, are totally original. They are completely different to other dolls produced by any other company and I don’t even want to see the work of others.
Wow, OK. Finally, how do you respond to people who say what you're doing is sick?
Some people have this view, but the doll is not a human being. Human rights do not belong to a doll – the victim does not exist anywhere. These people attack my company, but I do not need to justify myself. I expect many of these human beings either have mental problems. If you think our dolls are immoral, should we also remove all of the world’s nude sculptures, like the Statue of David, just for reproducing genitalia?
Bye now, forever!
Follow Chloe on Twitter: @chloecrossx
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