Senji touches his love doll “Saori.” (Taro Karibe/Getty Images)

Senji shops for clothes with Saori. (Taro Karibe/Getty Images)

In 2007, Ryan Gosling played a character who has trouble making friends or even socializing with people in a movie called “Lars and the Real Girl.” In the movie, to salve his social anxieties, he turns to the company of a silicone doll he names Bianca. His friends, family and community decide to support him. Eventually, Lars learns to get past his insecurities and begins a relationship with a real woman. Although this was fiction, it is not as far-fetched as it might seem. In fact, at least one man in Japan is playing out a somewhat similar story.

At first, 61-year-old Senji Nakajima’s interest in his love doll, named “Saori,” was purely to fill feelings of loneliness. But after a few months of living with her in his Tokyo apartment, Nakajima, (who is married and has two children but lives away from home because of work) started to think that the doll had developed her own personality. She became more than an inanimate object to him; he began to think of her as his girlfriend. Of Saori, Nakajima said, “She never betrays… I’m tired of modern rational humans. They are heartless…for me, she is more than a doll…She needs much help, but still is my perfect partner who shares precious moments with me and enriches my life.” Getty Images photographer Taro Karibe, much of whose work is propelled by a desire to examine humanity’s sometimes fragile identity, decided to tag along with Nakajima and Saori to see what life living with a silicone doll looks like. These photos show what he found out.


Senji carries Saori into his apartment. (Taro Karibe/Getty Images)

Senji and Saori watch TV. (Taro Karibe/Getty Images)

Senji and Saori. (Taro Karibe/Getty Images)

Senji carries Saori. (Taro Karibe/Getty Images)

Senji carries Saori while out on the town. (Taro Karibe/Getty Images)

Senji lifts Saori out of his car. (Taro Karibe/Getty Images)

Senji shows Saori to local residents after a photo session with his friend at a lake in Nagan. (Taro Karibe/Getty Images)

Senji tries to get Saori out of a boat. (Taro Karibe/Getty Images)

Senji listens to advice from a wig shop owner. (Taro Karibe/Getty Images)

Saori outside Senji’s apartment. (Taro Karibe/Getty Images)

Senji takes Saori’s head off to change her clothes. (Taro Karibe/Getty Images)

Senji combs Saori’s hair. (Taro Karibe/Getty Images)

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