Hajime Sorayama

Hajime Sorayama (b. 1947) is a Japanese painter known for his precisely detailed, erotic, hand-painted and airbrushed portrayals of women and of feminine, biomechanoid robots, and his design work on the original Sony AIBO robotic “pet”. He describes his highly detailed style as “superrealism”, which he says “deals with the technical issue of how close one can get to one’s object.”

Sorayama’s art book Sexy Robot, published by Genko-sha in 1983, made his organic–robotic forms famous around the world. For the work, he used ideas from pin-up art, which in the book then appear as chrome-plated gynoids in suggestive poses. His next book, Pin-up (1984), continued in the same vein. A number of his other works similarly revolve around figures in suggestive poses, including highly realistic depictions in latex and leather. Sorayama said of is pin-up work: “That’s my mania. I’ve been drawing them since high school. Back then, there was this thing for the Playboy and Penthouse playmates. Now, it’s the girl-next-door, idol type, but in our day, these pin-ups were like goddesses. I guess I could describe it as my own goddess cult.”

In the 2000s, Sorayama’s first-generation AIBO design received the Grand Prize of Best Design award, the highest design award conferred by Japan. AIBO has since been included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) and the Smithsonian Institution.

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