Ghost in the Shell

3D Selfies of Deceased for Bereaved Relatives

3D Selfies

More than a novelty, 3D selfies emerge in Japan as a effective means of helping relatives recover from the loss of a loved one.   

One parent’s grief over the loss of his daughter has given rise to a new industry in Japan; lifelike figurines of deceased relatives made with 3D printing.

The father — who wishes to remain anonymous — hails from Zentsuji in Kagawa Prefecture. He told the Japan Times: “I never imagined it could bring us this much relief. This figure makes me feel her presence more than a picture, so I often end up talking to her.”

His 11-year-old daughter, Miku, was run over on her way home from school in January 2014, and was pronounced dead soon after she was taken to hospital.

The father later had the idea of a 3D printed figurine when he visited a shop which specialized in 3D selfies, when the technology was first becoming popular.

He found that companies which were creating replicas of pets only needed as little as four photographs to work from, but they were reluctant to print from photos of his daughter.

The problem was that, in order to convey emotions and expression, pictures needed to be taken from various angles. The father only had photos that showed his daughter face-on.

3D Selfies that Help with Mourning

Eventually, the father found a company who accepted his request, Osaka-based Roice Entertainment. Koichi Furusho, President of Roice Entertainment, explained: “I didn’t think it would be possible but we accepted the order because we felt it was important.”

The process of creating the figure took around four months, and Furusho corrected the figure dozens of times, showing prototypes to the girl’s father and getting his feedback. Furusho recalled the father instructing the firms’ designers, “The forehead should be smaller” and “the eyes should be close-set.”

About a year after the accident, the figure was completed. Furusho felt rewarded when he saw how happy the father was. “The cost is really high but we’re going to accept orders from anyone who needs our service,” Furusho said.

For the cost of ¥108,000, the company can produce a 20-cm-tall figure within two months and so far, the company have received around 50 orders, mainly from parents who have lost their children.

Furusho said: “We had not imagined that with 3D printing technology we would be able to bring such relief to people. We want to continue to help.”

3d selfies