Join the Purikura Craze

Photo booths have always been an easy, fun, and convenient way to have our pictures taken for whatever purpose. A photo booth is usually a kiosk or coin-operated vending machine with a built-in camera and film processing unit. In vending-machine-happy Japan, the booths are ubiquitous, especially in malls or shopping complexes, and most are already digital.


Many KCP students like to take purikura. | KCP Flickr


Inside you’ll find a seat that can fit one or two people being photographed. The booth is curtained off to avoid any outside interference (and light). Coins are dropped into a slot as payment and a series of shots are taken. Most of the modern booths take only one shot and print out several duplicate images. Before an image is taken, a buzzer or light signals you to pose. Before digital imagery, processing images usually took several minutes; now, it takes only about 30 seconds for the prints to come out of the booth. 

Purikura booth. | twicepix

Purikura (プリクラ) is a popular form of the modern photo booth that has hit the United States too.  It originated in Japan. Instead of the usual images printed on photo paper, purikura images are printed on sticker paper with an array of designs to choose from. The term “purikura” is a shortened term from the Japanese registered trademark Purinto Kurabu (プリント倶楽部) and means “print club” in English. Purikura machines were initially developed by Sega and Atlus in 1995.

Sometimes, KCP students post their purikura on our bulletin board. |  KCP Flickr

Purikura (pronounced as poo-ree-koo-rah) machines have become all the rage because of their unique designs. You can decorate pictures using a wide variety of design choices, from out-of-this-world wacky to girly flowers and hearts. The machines are big enough to fit 4 to 6 people, adding to the fun.  Having your picture taken with a bunch of your friends and choosing a design to complement your images will create memories you can treasure for many years to come.