This article originally appeared on VICE ASIA.
In Japan, it’s no secret that there’s a sizable fetish with joshi kosei (aka JK, or high school girls).
“JK business” thrives on this fetish, evolving over the years to provide a host of school girl-related services — themed cafes, massages by young women clad in school uniforms, and buru sera, a 1990s trend which saw school girls selling their unwashed clothing items.
One Japanese Twitter user recently shared his latest JK find — an air freshener with an oddly specific scent. The package of the air freshener claims that this is “the smell when you give a ride to a high school girl in the passenger seat.”
According to Sora News, this Twitter user’s mother actually thought that he just gave a ride to a young girl. “So that means this air freshener is really good,” he wrote.
What exactly does a school girl smell like? Some people who bought the air freshener said that it had a “fruity fragrance similar to a young girl’s perfume.”
Taking a whiff of a high school girl on demand seemed to rank high on some people’s list of desires. “Thanks for this information! I bought it today,” reads one Twitter comment.
“If I put this in my room will it feel like there’s a girl with me all the time?” asks another.
The unique air freshener was bought at an adult store, but it’s also apparently available on Amazon Japan for 1,760 yen ($16.02).
Japan is no stranger to unusual fragrances. There are cute ones like this fabric spray with the “scent of a cat’s forehead” for cat-lovers, or “virtual fragrances” that are supposed to smell like fictional characters from anime and video games.
Bordering on creepy are scents modelled after the most intimate moments with women. One example is this fragrance that’s supposed to smell like “the bath towel of a woman who just dried off after a shower.” There’s also this body soap with the “scent of a young woman,” that became a hit among men. Even kinkier is fried chicken marketed to smell like either “the bottom of a young woman’s foot” or “girl’s sweat.”
These disturbing inventions are symptomatic of a pervasive otaku subculture that lurks beneath the surface of a society that is stereotypically decorous and profusely courteous.
Otaku is a stigmatised Japanese term for socially withdrawn and romantically deprived men. They are usually huge fans of anime or manga, which partly explains the unrealistic fetishisation of school girls.
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