A BBC presenter was reduced to tears while visiting a Japanese factory which mass-produces sex toy robots – including petite dolls with ‘kid-like’ qualities.
Having travelled to Japan to learn more about the industry for the BBC Three documentary Sex Robots and Us, James Young visited a factory in an industrial suburb of Tokyo, where he was left shocked by the petite size of some of its ultra-realistic dolls.
The visibly disturbed presenter grew tearful as he grilled manufacturer Hiro Okawa about one particularly small doll, who told him the ‘actual age setting’ was left to customers’ ‘imagination’.
‘There may be some kind of sentiment to petite, kid-like size,’ the factory boss conceded
Afterwards the shaken presenter said the sight of such a ‘young’ doll was ‘horrific’.
‘I just had to get out of the there,’ said the BBC Three presenter.
There are no legal issues surrounding the ownership of a child-like sex doll in Japan, but Mr Okawa acknowledged the way it might be perceived, and said the specific model was not available outside of Japan.
James, a biological scientist who has a prosthetic arm and leg since suffering devastating injuries in a train accident six years ago, was also shown headless ‘sexbots’ with over-sized breasts being assembled by an engineer.
In addition to visiting the Japanese factory, James also spent time at a brothel in Barcelona where they had sex robots for hire.
Each doll could be rented at an hourly rate, and would be dressed according to clients’ preferences.
Real women work alongside the sex dolls, but there are no rules surrounding the use of the inanimate objects – aside from clients being asked to refrain from putting them on the floor.
The owner of the brothel explained to James that his clientele benefits from sexual freedom
‘The thing is for the doll it can’t shout, it doesn’t say “no you can’t do that with me”‘ he said.
‘Real girls here are human and if they don’t want to do one thing with a client then they are not going to do that. Because they have a voice they can do that.’
Reflecting on the way sex dolls are mass produced ready to be ‘used and abused’ by customers, the presenter admitted his time exploring the industry had left him deflated.
While he was fascinated by the potential of artificial intelligence in some robots, he added: ‘I felt pessimistic about what kind of messed up future we might be creating for ourselves.’