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All about Bagelheads: New Japanese body modification trend

Bagelheads

People are naturally drawn to the strange and freaky. If you hear something of a deviant nature, you automatically feel the need to find out more and form an opinion on it. The western media and bloggers all thought they hit the mother-lode of weirdness when they discovered ‘The Bagelheads’.

Bagelheads classifies persons who undergo saline injections to create bagel-shaped swellings on their face and other parts of their body. Before heading to the party scene or in some cases, fetish clubs, body-pierced and tattooed enthusiasts find a parlor or purchase the materials themselves. They inject saline into the part of the body they want to enlarge. The head is the most popular spot, sometimes it is the arms.

In two hours, a sufficient infusion of saline causes a large swelling on the surface of the skin, which is malleable enough to be molded into a specified shape. The center of the inflammation is poked to create the bagelhead look. Other kinds of styles have been imagined, the lumps can be reshaped depending on the person’s inclination, how crazy he wants to look, or some “trendsetters” can decide to color them with food dye. At the parties where the saline packets are distributed, some men opt for scrotal infusions. I imagine it is sort of satisfying for them.

The saline inflation lasts for 24 hours, this is the time frame is enough for the body to absorb the saline and compress the lumps naturally.

The process is accompanied by side effects; possible infection, headache, pressure sensation in the areas, swollen eyes and stretched out skin.

None of the people appear particularly attractive. I suppose other sorts of body modification such as piercing and tattooing have a “different” appeal, but bagelheads entered the realm of the grotesque-and absurd.

Considering the obvious risks and facial abuse these teenagers must suffer through, it is no wonder the majority of bloggers think it one more crazy stunt by Japanese teenagers to get attention.

Japanese trends have always been insane and crazy, sometimes even testing the boundaries of decency. However, this latest trend has received an unambiguous response. Bagelheads are for the weirdoes and those stupid enough to want to tangle with the bizarre.

It is hard to believe the twisted notions that such a trend is popular in Japan. More so, people called bagelheads actually exist. Maybe they don’t ! 3Yen, a news site dedicated to Japanese news and culture, took responsibility for the term, “The Bagelheads”, and refuted claims that the phenomenon was a trend. They particularly enjoyed the reaction of the Western mainstream press and blogsphere, which completely blew the whole thing out of proportion.

It may not be a fashionable trend, but there is no doubt that the “Bagelheads” are a subculture in modern Japan comprised of body modification enthusiasts, nothing resembling a cult following.

Ryoichi “Keroppy” Maeda, a journalist immersed in the body mod culture, is the one responsible for bringing this fad to Japan after a meeting with a friend. In 2007, he set up a team in Tokoyo to administer saline solutions to people. Among his fellow body mod enthusiasts, parties are organized where they can explore and celebrate being “The Bagelheads”.

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