Japanese purikura photo booths, which produce selfies that you can decorate and print out, pre-date Snapchat filters by at least a decade. At about $3.50 a pop, they are still attracting 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 district advised us on how to optimize our experience.
But it was a good thing a reporter on race and culture was on hand: We ended up discovering that the instant modifications happening to images in these photo booths raise some questions about what’s considered beautiful in the eyes of the Japanese.