Video: Japan's 'Purikura' Photo Booths Offer Snapchat-Like Filters : Parallels In NPR's Elise Tries series, correspondent Elise Hu tries out new experiences in East Asia. In Tokyo, she checks out Japanese purikura photo booths, which produce selfies to decorate and print out.
NPR logo

Video: Japan's 'Purikura' Photo Booths Offer Snapchat-Like Filters

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/526005241/535325292" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Video: Japan's 'Purikura' Photo Booths Offer Snapchat-Like Filters

Video: Japan's 'Purikura' Photo Booths Offer Snapchat-Like Filters

Video: Japan's 'Purikura' Photo Booths Offer Snapchat-Like Filters

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/526005241/535325292" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
NPR via YouTube

Japanese purikura photo booths, which produce selfies that you can decorate and print out, predate 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.