They cuddle unabashedly, show off their long, lovely legs in floral dresses, and put on eye makeup with a practiced hand.
With their flawless skin, shiny, straight hair and porcelain looks they are the embodiment of the Lolita-esque prettiness inspired by the Hello Kitty brand.
However, these are no teenaged schoolgirls but young Japanese men who crossdress as women, some doing so to serve as waitresses at a crossdressing bar and café.
The images have been put together with love – and determination – by Japanese photographer Naoko Tachibana in her photobook Yuri Danshi, released ceremoniously on 31 July.
Yuri Danshi means lesbian boys and the book, priced at roughly $20, hopes to help eradicate the negative perception that the world has of crossdressers.
‘I’m a woman but I love people who crossdress,’ Tachibana told Rocketnews24. ‘To me it’s clear that if they are cute or beautiful it doesn’t matter what gender they are.’
Tachibana, who runs a studio with a male crossdressing clientele and advocates against the ban on crossdressing at some events in Japan, says the popular perception that men should be a certain way is “disrespectful”.
‘Don’t judge these (crossdressers) from the viewpoint a man or woman is expected to have but by what naturally moves your heart,’ she says.
‘Then you will see it a different way.’
However, it reqired a tough struggle to get a publisher for her book. After several rejections, the project was finally accepted by My Way Publishing.
The launch was followed by a promotional event in Tokyo Friday that was attended by the photographer as well as some of the male models. Five of the nine models work in a crossdressing bar and café.
Last year, Rocketnews24 reported there was a mushrooming of people in drag. However, unlike the original drag queens, who favored stylish clothing and pronounced makeup, the new breed consisted of middle-aged men who simply wore women’s clothes without making any attempt to hide their forms or features.
In 2008, the Daily Mail reported the transformation of septuagenarian Malcolm Murdoch, a former British Ministry of Defense official, who won permission to dress as a geisha, and donned the identity of Mary Murdoch.