Bagelheads – Japan’s Take on the Klingon Forehead

Ok, so they don’t look nearly as cool as Klingons, but Japanese bagelheads really do look like they came from a galaxy far far away. For some reason, injecting saline into the forehead is becoming an increasingly popular trend in the land of the rising sun.

Bagelheads have been around for years, but they recently caused international controversy after the body modification technique was featured on National Geographic’s Taboo program. Three people underwent the bagelhead procedure in Tokyo, under the supervision of an expert and the watchful eyes of several body modification enthusiasts. They had large needles inserted into their foreheads through which saline slowly dripped forming a kind of reservoir. When enough saline built up under the skin creating a nice bulge, the body mod master simply pressed his thumb on it to give it that coveted bagel shape. For some reason, every one of the three subjects seemed pretty happy to have a deformed head.

The bagelhead trend was brought to Japan by body modification photographer Ryoichi “Keroppy” Maeda in 2007, when he set up a team and started doing forehead infusions. He first saw the bizarre practice in 1999, at a body modification show in Toronto. He experienced it himself in 2003, and eventually asked permission from the artist who perfected the technique to bring it to Japan. And the rest, as they say, is history…

Keroppy says that as long as it’s done right, the bagelhead procedure poses no danger. After all it’s just saline being injected into the forehead and then gradually absorbed by the body. It takes around two hours for the forehead to swell properly and the effect is gone in just 16-24 hours. The Japanese photographer says that many of his friends pumped their heads with the solution many times, but every time their skin went back to normal.

Apparently, bagelheads are really popular in Japan these days, and there are even bagelhead parties organized about twice a year. And the forehead isn’t the only thing they inject full of saline either. Keroppy says at his parties many guys have scrotal infusions as well…


Asked why people resort to such extreme body modification techniques, Ryoichi said it’s because people who are into this kind of stuff are always looking for ways to set themselves apart from the crowd, and because “we all enjoy being freaks for one night”.

Photos via Vice

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