02/06/2014 08:45 BST | Updated 20/05/2015 06:12 BST

Are Photo Booth Portraits The New Selfie?

Selfies are a thing of the past and it's all about having your photo taken in a face-distorting and "depressing" photo booth - well, if you're a teenager in Japan that is.

Introducing Tokyo's purikura, the insanely popular, face-altering Japanese photo booths famed for creating portraits that barely resemble the subject and instead "fall somewhere on the spectrum between anime characters and human Barbie".

We thought the days of piling into a bog standard passport-photo-producing booth with your pals at the shopping centre were long gone, but throw in a bit of hyper-reality and Kawaii stickers into the equation and it's an entirely different story.

While the trend for arcades full of photo booths hasn't caught on in Blighty, they can be found all over Japan's capital city, Tokyo. These reportedly "decrepit spaces, with graffiti on the walls" are rammed with photo booth after photo booth claiming to print photos of your best self.

And what exactly is your best self? Flawless, impossibly white skin, massive eyes and the perfect Kawaii pose - topped off, of course, with star, flower and bumblebee stickers.

From the looks of things this is what teenage girls are spending their pocket money on, and we're not the only ones who think it's mildly upsetting.

The Cut's contributing photographer Amy Lombard visited the arcades and confessed she found the whole idea of cute Kawaii culture saddening. "These girls spend hours here taking pictures of themselves - they're obsessed with it," she said.

"You can tell they know what they're doing when they go into different photo booths - like 'Heroine Face' or 'Kawaii Face' - it's like a big decision. The spaces themselves are just really depressing."

Source: The Cut

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