If contraception is no laughing matter, why does Japan continue to offer romantically minded consumers ever stranger, weirder and funnier condoms? Then again, maybe the overcrowded island nation's birth control strategy is working: the country's birth rate, after all, is one of the lowest in the world.
Following up on our previous look at The Top 10 Weirdest and Funniest Japanese Condoms, these 10 amusingly odd male contraceptive packages illustrate Japan's undeclared intent to make laughs, not babies.
10) Rilakkuma Condoms
“Ohh, so cuuute...” Not the ideal response you want when it's time to do da nasty but hey, there's other things she could be giggling at, amiright? Rilakkuma condoms epitomize the occasionally uncomfortable convergence of Cute and Mmm, two characteristics that in Japan at least, go together like a hand in a glove. Or like a... well, never mind.
Rilakkuma, a sort of minimalist 2D bear that's become Japan's new fave cute character, appears to have gone where not even Hello Kitty has gone before – and that, my friend, is a VERY short list. (Rilakkuma Condoms image via Sampson Store)
9) Hello Kitty Condoms
Dang it, the list just got shorter! It's not so horrible that Japan's most famous feline now graces packs of condoms, but the fact that they're packaged in the form of lollipops crosses the line from awful to incredible.
Seriously, just who or what is the target market for Hello Kitty condoms?? Let's just not go there, mmkay? Instead we'll quote our ever-suffering source, Hello Kitty Hell, who predicts that “Having to stop multiple times in the middle of doing it because the Hello Kitty fanatic you're doing it with wants to see 'how cute it is' again and again pretty much would take the joy and pleasure out of the evening.” Hello Kitty, goodbye love life! (Hello Kitty Condoms image via Hello Kitty Hell)
8) Glamourous Butterfly Condoms
“Float like a butterfly or sting like a bee...” That's the slogan the makers of Glamourous Butterfly condoms should be shouting, with all due respect to The Greatest.
Now that drug-resistant strains of age-old STDs are beginning to rear their ugly heads, properly wrapping your “gift” has never been more timely. Glamourous Butterfly condoms, the choice of lovers AND fighters! (Glamourous Butterfly Condoms image via Paradis)
7) Louis Vuitton Condoms
"Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship." That was then, this is now. Slapping on some luxury might get her to your secret love nest but why stop there?
En-rich your experience with Louis Vuitton condoms and she'll know you've spared no expense to ensure her safety – and yours as well. By the way, each condom is said to cost $68 – this is one safe you need to keep IN a safe.
As for the root-beer-brown tint of the actual condom, it kinda reminds us of the business ends of baby bottles and really, who wants to be reminded of babies when the aim is to prevent conception? (Louis Vuitton Condoms image via PlanetPit)
6) O'Mr. Skin Chapeau Condoms
What to make of these condoms? Are they Irish, French, or what? Does “Mr. Skin” refer to that movie nudes outtake guy who often guests on the Howard Stern Show, or to Spirit's big hit from the early 1970s?
Odd nomenclature aside, these supposedly Japanese condoms are branded “Fulex”, which sounds a lot like Durex and even looks like the popular contraceptive brand's logo.
One thing Durex wouldn't do, however, is put graphics of cartoon youngsters on their individual condom packages. One might say they would be Fulex to do so. (O'Mr. Skin Chapeau Condoms image via The Standing Room)
5) Kabuto Menthol Condoms
Japan's famed samurai warriors never went into battle without their trusty kabuto, and neither should you... and by the way, “kabuto” means helmet (wink wink nudge nudge).
Not only are Kabuto condoms the authentic way to sheath one's katana, they also offer one variety with menthol sensation lubricant “for extra cooling stimulation.” Extra? Cooling?? Correct me if I'm wrong, but if your date's kicked the bucket you really don't NEED to use a condom. Just sayin'. (Kabuto Menthol Condoms image via Rakuten)
4) Monkey Love Condoms
From cold to hot, as in Hot Monkey Love! Ready to go ape with the gorilla your dreams? Taking an after-school recess to do the Rhesus? Feeling a familiar swoon for that certain special baboon? When monkey business is in the offing, you know the (man)drill: duck & cover... without the duck, of course. That would be weird.
Why put pictures of monkeys on the backs of condom packs, you may ask? Sounds like somebody's overdue for a visit to the local zoo, simian section. If you thought all they did was fling poop, you're in for an eye-opener. Keep your eyes closed, by the way, I hear they fling poop. (Monkey Love Condoms image via Brother Shine)
3) Andy Warhol Condoms
Do you love art with a passion? Then pick up a pack of Andy Warhol signature condoms next time you visit Lawson, a chain of Japanese convenience stores.
Of course, it's extremely unlikely Warhol's estate authorized any such thing.
In fact, if the late, great American pop-artist and pop-culture prognosticator knew some wag in Japan was flogging “Andy Warhol” brand condoms, he'd roll over in his grave... er, don't roll over, Andy!
The condom's package features the iconic Yellow Banana graphic designed by Warhol in 1967 for the cover of the The Velvet Underground's seminal (ahem) debut album. Nearly a half-century later, you get to use it to cover your own banana. (Andy Warhol Condoms image via Japan Economy News)
2) Popteen Condoms
Calling your magazine “Popteen” is risque enough, sponsoring a line of condoms with the same name is... pure genius!
Popteen is one of those Japanese/English terms that was likely conceived (sorry) in all innocence: it's a mag for teen girls who want to be popular, but not in that way. It goes to show you it's no longer necessary to change languages for something to get lost in translation.
But back to Popteen Condoms, a name that will live in infamy among conservative parents everywhere. Created with the noble goal of promoting romantic health among their young female target demographic, the bright & colorful packages exhort Japan's young ladies to play safe. Everybody now, “Let's Condoming!” (Popteen Condoms image via Now-Now-Now)
1) Mega Big Boy Condoms
We closed our last look at Japan's latex love gloves with Super Big Boy, featuring a horse on the package. Now Okamoto has seen fit to raise the stakes with Mega Big Boy, the condominium-sized condom with an African Bull Elephant on the box. The “XL” seems a tad redundant but maybe Okamoto has plans for XXL (Tyrannosaurus Rex) and XXXL (Blue Whale... or better yet, Sperm Whale) sizes to be marketed in the future.
Even if you don't really “qualify” for Mega Big Boy condoms, buy a pack or two anyway. Dump out the contents and upcycle them as hot air balloons, life rafts or whatever, and replace them with your usual, slightly more modest brand. Your goddess(s) will be impressed and you'll reap the rewards. (Mega Big Boy Condoms image via Sampson Store)
OK, that's a wrap... heh. Once again, we end on a high (and long, and wide) note thanks to Japanese condom manufacturers' propensity for producing condoms only an exalted few can comfortably wear. Who's their latex salesman, anyway? Art Vandelay? (top image via Break, image to the right via Uncoached)