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Bagelheads | Japan’s Hot Trend of Injecting Saline in Forehead for that “Bagel” Look

For the last 20 years Ryoichi ‘Keroppy’ Maeda has been documenting the underground rise in Japanese extreme body modification. Keroppy learned saline infusions in 2003 and brought the idea to Japan in 2007, he has been performing modifications ever since. The ‘Bagelhead’ is currently the hottest body modification, created by injecting medical saline solution into the forehead. The saline solution is injected for two hours and the ‘bagel/donut-head’ look is created by pressing your thumb in the middle of the forehead. Once complete, the modification will last 16-24 hours.

In all seriousness, trends come and trends go – but where in the HELL did this one come from? And why would you want to make your forehead look like a freakin’ bagel?? LOL… would they still want this look if they were called “donut-heads”? I can’t help be think of Homer Simpson….

Here is a short video by National Geographic’s “Taboo” of the “bagelhead” procedure. No blood, just a needle being inserted into their foreheads.


Taboo : Bagel Heads


Extreme Body Modifications Japan

Caution: From this point on is not for the faint of heart. Below are some incredible photos taken of extreme body modifications performed by Ryoichi ‘Keroppy’ Maeda. Unless you are a extreme modifier yourself, some of these images will make you wince, and some have blood in them. If you are the type of person that faints at the sight of blood, I would turn around and check out another post on Motley News. (Yeah, I just spammed my own site… 🙂 )

I will give credit when credit is due… Ryoichi ‘Keroppy’ Maeda is very VERY talented in what he does. The precision in his scar art (carving skin) is exact! I certainly have no desire to do so but if I did, I would most definitely want it to be precise. After all, there is no return policy on this type of art.

This section also includes photos of the underground scene in Japan. Many of the people that both attend as well as perform in these shows probably have some very extreme modifications. Although I wouldn’t consider hanging by hooks through your skin as modification, it is apparently a hot underground act. There are several photos taken of both men and women hanging by hooks through their skin. One photo looks like an actual performance as they are wearing costumes, one being an angel.

I have no clue

There are also a few photos that I simply do not know what they are. They have to do with Ryoichi’s work in modification, but what it is and what he’s doing is not clear to me. If you hover above any of the images in the mosaic below, then the caption will pop up. I have indicated these unknowns as “I don’t know.” If you do, or have a good idea on what is going on or what the “thing” is, please let me know in the comments.


Eye (and Mouth Sewn) Wide Shut

Another photo worth pointing out is of this young girl. She has had her left eye and her mouth sewn shut. I have no idea why. I am fairly confident that this is just a temporary modification for her performance. In the gallery of all images below, I will place an image of a performer that I believe may be her. It was consecutive to the photo of her face in Ryoichi’s gallery on his website, Keroppy Maeda.



My Heart For You

I am not sure on this one, but it appears to be pieces of skin cut out in the shape of a heart. Instead of a heart-shaped cookie-cutter, here we have a heart-shaped Epidermis/Dermis/Subcutaneous-cutter. Ouch….

Well, onward ho! Here is the gallery of several photos taken by Ryoichi ‘Keroppy’ Maeda.


All images will enlarge to full size if you click on them.

Sources and References:

Ryoichi ‘Keroppy’ Maeda website: Keroppy Maeda
National Geographic Taboo: Extreme Bodies
Laughing Squid: ‘Bagelheads’ are Injecting Saline Into Their Foreheads to Create Trendy Bagel-Like Shapes
Most Watched Today: Japanese Bagelheads


    • The girl with her mouth and left eye sewed shut does not belong in this group. She was accused of blasphemy by her employers in Africa, and this was her punishment for calling Jesus her savior. She almost died from this horrible act. Please, respect her by removing her photo. Thanks.

      • Mary, did you even read through the entire article? There is a link which will take you to the website of a photographer that took photos of extreme body modification. She had her eye and mouth sewn shut for personal reasons because she is into extreme body modification. I advise thoroughly researching and ready the full article including checking out any links before making such a bold statement against a large group of people. By the way, she is Japanese.

  1. Well I guess there are things in this world I am not supposed to understand. Generation X, which I am a part of, doesn’t quite get it. Is there more to the process, beyond the physical? Do they do it for self-esteem issues? What started all this? I am in the Generation X and these people are the infamous Millenials. Did I skip a generation some how?
    Hey if that is what they want to do to their bodies and doesn’t do any harm beyond to her person.

    • No clue as to how it started. But I’m guessing that many do the bagel head because it’s a type of body modification that isn’t permanent. I noticed that the people with saline drips in their foreheads did not have much, if any, modifications. A few piercings, maybe a small tat. But nothing more extreme. This allows them to greatly alter their body in some way but is not permanent.

      That’s my guess…. It’s still ugly. A bagel? A donut?

    • I think the bagelhead is completely stupid. But I do like a lot of the other modifications. I wouldn’t get any myself, but when done and healed, they can be pretty wicked looking. Especially with the right artist – like this guy.

  2. For once, I’m almost speechless. Except to say that in most cases back in the past, a person had to be born a freak, in order to join a carnival freak show. Now people can choose to become freaks, by having someone else turn them into their own freak show.

    It seems to me that people with an obsession for extremes are never satisfied, and must constantly move on to even greater extremes. I’m not sure that I want to know what the ultimate extreme is… and I do wonder where the line is, between someone choosing extreme body modification, and being driven to it by by psycho-pathology, or a deeply rooted sense of alienation from and rejection by the rest of the society that they were born into and raised by.

    But thanks for the show, Michelle, because I found it fascinating. Morbidly fascinating, but still fascinating all the same.

  3. Some people in the united states do this as well.
    This article shows scarification, “elf” ears, corsetting, tongue splitting, etc
    It’s all apart of extreme body modification, which several churches have been founded upon.
    Cheek spearing is common in many religions and countries.
    Some women use corsetting over their eyes. (Though any type of corsetting is temporary)
    Some loved ones use scarification to express their love for one another.

    I haven’t modified my body yet, but I find some comments offensive, since I have respect for these people.

  4. People are way too judgmental. I think the people that spend their time judging others based on their outward appearance, or what they chose to do with their own bodies and lives.. have WAY too much time on their hands.. None of you are Japanese, so you don’t even begin to get the level of conformity that is forced on us every single day of our lives. We have a saying in Japan, that I will say in English here “The nail that sticks up, must be hammered down.”. Which means, if you’re different, you’re an outcast, you have to look like everyone else. How soldiers are in the US, all the same, that’s how we’re supposed to be in Japan. Some people are so sick of that they they break free in extreme ways. But, again, that’s their business, it has nothing to do with who they are inside.. Stop judging people and worry about yourself.

    I completely agree with GreenMeetsGray’s comment as well.

    • It’s not so different here in America either, when it comes to conformity. I started having my body pierced twenty years ago before it became such a fad here in the states. Now I’ve removed them all. I still don’t understand how the bagel head is appealing, but hey, it’s their forehead.

      Anyway, the youth in this country are under so much peer pressure that fights, theft, and yes, death have occurred because someone wants something so bad because it’s “cool” or “in” but cannot have it primarily due to not having the money. One of the early incidents was over Air Jordans. Back then, basketball shoes just did not cost over $100. But if a kid didn’t have a pair of Air Jordans, they were not cool and treated as an outcast in school, in their neighborhood, etc. People have been beaten up, and some killed, just for their shoes. Now the violence centers around electronics, primarily the iPhone.

      So, it’s not so different here. The youth in Japan are struggling to break from the norm and express themselves freely, whereas our youth struggle with just trying to be accepted by their peers – and it’s always something materialistic and involves money. “Coolness” is indicative of money here. But it is that way in many societies. But killing over a pair of basketball shoes?

    • Please don’t pick and choose what works for you…

      Leviticus 19:19
      “You shall keep my statutes. You shall not let your cattle breed with a different kind. vYou shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor shall you wear a garment of cloth made of two kinds of material.”

      I can guarantee that most of your clothes are a blend of two or more kinds of material.

    • Shelly – that prohibition is specifically against cultic rituals. There’s no prohibition in either testament about tattooing or similar for artistic or similar personal reasons. Also, unless you’re ignoring the whole new testament, we have a covenant based on grace and love, not laws. Read James 2. Verse ten contains the heart: “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.”

  5. Hi,
    I always wonder what these people will look like when they hit 60. Will they regret it or still adore it?

  6. You should check out Fakir Musafar, saw a show @ him approximately 25-30yrs ago. The “godfather” if you will of extreme body modification.

  7. In some european country you get welfare for being stupid, drug abuse, stupid modifications, stupid behaviorism. It is ok for me to pay them, to avoid crime. What else should we do? If there is some brain missing, nothing can help, I guess.

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