Understanding Dakimakura, Otaku, and Related Terms

Have you heard of the dakimakura?

This post aims to expound on the meaning of dakimakura and other related terms. You will also learn about its association with Japanese animation.


What is a dakimakura?

Dakimakura is a name for the Japanese body pillow. This name, which comprises of two words joined to form one, means a hug or embrace pillow. It also refers to a love pillow in some parts of Japan.

dakimakura by istolethetv
CC image courtesy of istolethetv

The pillow became quite popular in the 2000’s because of its connection to the Otaku culture. This culture attracted a worldwide fan base that bought the dakimakura pillows exclusively from Japan at the time.


What is Otaku?

Otaku in this context is a Japanese slang word which means nerd or geek. This culture includes an influence of Japanese animation. So Otaku fans buy personalized items featuring their favorite characters.

anime by Danny Choo
CC image courtesy of Danny Choo on Flickr

The dakimakura are amongst the favored items for most of the fans. And this is because these huggable pillows fit the popular full-size Anime pillow cases.

Dakimakura dimensions

dakimakura by C.Fountainstand
CC Image courtesy of C.Fountainstand on Flickr

First, the dakimakura length was 160 cm long and 50 cm wide.

Then came the 150 cm pillow, which was introduced later on and became popular because of its low freight charges.

Both sizes are still available in the market.


What type of filling can you find in a dakimakura?

Most of these pillows have polyester fiber filling. You can also find some with cotton filling. There is a preference to polyester because it’s comfortable, hypoallergenic, and manipulatable. Not to mention this filling can bounce back to its original form when not in use.

Are dakimakura machine washable?

Some are, check the care instructions first and find out if you can machine wash your dakimakura. Ask the retailer in case you don’t find any information.

If you don’t want to, then remove the filling for a zippered pillow and wash the casing. Or use the gentle cycle for a few minutes to wash it and then rinse thoroughly. Use tennis balls in the dryer to fluff the pillow up.

The best option would be to get a lengthy pillow case that covers it well and keeps off dust. You can clean the pillowcase when dirty.

You can also get a new pillow if the one you own is old.


Where can you buy this type of pillow?

You can buy this pillow from an anime related or an e-commerce store. Most of these stores sell the body pillow and cover separately. And some of them offer custom-made services for the pillow cases.

Consider checking out the body pillow checklist before buying the dakimakura just to be sure.

Is the dakimakura affordable?

This pillow’s affordability depends on the quality of casing material and filling. If you include the anime cover, then it can be a little on the higher side.


dakimakura by Moggymaw
CC image courtesy of Moggymaw on Flickr
  • Because of the quality of paint used to create the full-length anime characters.
  • The elaborate designs of the animated characters.
  • And the quality of the cover fabric.

There are two types of fabric that most companies use.

These are:

Peach skin– This is a soft, long-lasting microfiber fabric that comes at an affordable price.

Two-way Tricot– This is a wrinkle-free premium fabric with a silk-like texture. The fabric is smooth and durable and considered as the best fabric for Anime covers.

By now you know something about the dakimakura. Most retail stores and anime cover manufacturers use the name to signify both the cover and the body pillow.

anime character for dakimakura

You must have come across the word waifu pillow, which is a dakimakura that has a cover of a female anime character. Waifu is a Japanese slang word for significant other’ or wife.

Waifu pillows are amongst the most popular anime body pillows. And Otaku fans consider them as personal possessions.


Are dakimakura weird?

The body pillows are not weird, although some of the covers come in X-rated designs that suggest otherwise. What I deem weird are the stories associated with some of these pillows.

For example, this story in the Huffington Post about the invention of a talking waifu pillow that responds to touch. And the NY Times story about the man who married his pillow.

Bottom line:

What you may consider weird may be quite normal to another.


A dakimakura gives you the comfort and support of a body pillow. You can buy the pillow for the mentioned reasons and include the anime cover if you’re a fan of Japanese animation. Or present it as a gift for a loved one.

Remember to fluff it up before use.

So, do you think an anime dakimakura is weird?

CC Featured image courtesy of C. Fountains on Flickr

Author: Brenda

Brenda Nadi is a proud mama, entrepreneur, and sleep blogger. She creates guides, tips, and reviews of sleep products that make comfortable environments for new buyers.

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