See the chair pictured above? According to Oddity Central, this device, formerly known as the “Tranquility Chair,” is being sold in Japan to help cure loneliness among the nation’s burgeoning elderly population.
As you can see, it features a back that’s shaped like a person, and legs that are shaped like human arms. So I guess sitting on it is supposed to feel like being affectionately embraced by someone who cares about you.
Anyway. The chair was developed by a Japanese company known as UniCare, and it’s being sold for 46,000 yen, which comes out to US$419. Pricey, eh?
Furthermore, according to a spokesperson for UniCare, the chair “makes you feel safe.” Yeah, either that or it creeps you out.
What’s interesting, however, is that these chairs also reportedly play Japanese music. That’s actually pretty useful, especially for older individuals who are suffering from “anxiety, fear or controllable anger.”
What’s also interesting is that Japan has a long history of trying to cure loneliness. Take, for instance, the Pekoppa Toy, a fake plant that flutters in acknowledgment whenever one interacts with it.
And let’s not forget about Japan’s army of lifelike robot girlfriends, which can blink, move and respond to certain questions.
What remains unanswered is this: Why the heck are the Japanese so lonely?