Purikura photo booths can be found all over Japan, and they are immensely popular with both Japanese teenage girls and even with foreign tourists! Where did these super-cute photo booths come from? How do you use them? Here is your ultimate guide to Japan’s Purikura photo booths!
What is “Purikura”?
Purikura is short for “purinto kurabu” (the Japanese pronunciation for “Print Club”). The term is actually a registered trademark for both the photo booths, as well as the stamp-sized pictures themselves. Most of the pictures actually double as stickers, and they are widely popular with Japanese teenage girls!
Purikura photo booths typically fit two people, but some are large enough to hold five or six. These aren’t just your average photos booths: music is often played inside of the machines, and some Purikura locations have costumes or props available for rent! After the photos are taken, the photos can be edited and decorated before they are printed out onto small, sticker photo paper.
Purikura machines can be found all over Japan. One of the most popular arcades is the “Purikura no Mecca” in Shibuya, Tokyo, but basically every Game Center in Japan will include at least one section of the colorful Purikura machines.
Origins of Purikura
Purikura machines originated in 1995 with a photo booth that looked a lot like an arcade game called “Print Club” that was developed by the Tokyo-based game companies Atlus and Sega. When Sasaki Miho first came up with the Print Club concept in 1994, she said to have based her idea on her school days’ experiences of putting cute stickers of Japanese characters on her notebooks.
After Print Club was first introduced, there wasn’t much interest in it from the public. It was only after the well-known J-Pop group SMAP gave Print Club photos of themselves to …continue reading