You can’t go to a convention these days without seeing at least two body pillow booths! What are they and what is the deal with them? I’m here to explain it all to you!
In Japan body pillows are called dakimakura (抱き枕) which combines the words daki (抱き), which means to embrace or cling to, and makura (枕), which means pillow. Dakimura aren’t necessarily hentai or anime themed. It can refer to a regular body pillow as well, which are sometimes used as security items for young children and used to correct posture while sleeping with adults.
Hentai or anime themed body pillows are a subset of dakimakura called love pillows! Love pillows feature full sized anime characters or adult film stars sometimes in compromising poses.
Love pillows started to become popular in the otaku community in the 90’s and were initially available in one size 160 cm x 50 cm. Initially love pillows were released mainly by a clothing company called Cospa and they featured bishōjo and bishonen anime and video game characters. Cospa sold and continues to sell officially licensed love pillows to this day but there are a lot of bootleg love pillows out there. Some companies are not cool with the sexy portrayal of their characters so artists have taken to doing their own renditions. Like this D.Va one!
In the mid 2000’s love pillows started to be released in the 150 cm x 50 cm size to avoid higher shipping rates. Now love pillows are made in both sizes and are sold by many companies! I even have a few on my Amazon wish list!