This isn't censorship. It's called "mizutama kora" (水玉コラ) or "polka dot collage." Here, it makes a fairly tame photo seem racy. Because sometimes, it's not what you see, but what you don't see. Are you ready to see some sexy sumo?

Warning: This article might have content some readers will find disagreeable. Others might find it funny.

And below, you can see the original photo:

The polka dot collage effect was achieved by added "polka dots" that reveal the photo underneath. So, here's how it works:

For years now, mizutama kora photos started appearing online in Japan to make swimsuit pics seem like nude photos. You know, to sexy them up. In the West, this is known as "bubbling." As KnowYourMeme points out, the trend, however, began in Japan.

Here are examples:

And by 2012, the photos started to become much more popular online on geek subculture forums and websites in Japan. That same year, you could even see it referenced in comedy series Unofficial Sentai Akibaranger, which was laced with loads of otaku gags and jokes.

There were also apps that could reproduce the effect as well as pin-up books (not mainstream ones, mind you!) that were filled with polka dot collages.


And now, some people online in Japan are just screwing around with the mizutama kora, leading to photos like these. (Note the woman pictured—er, well, kinda pictured—below is Ayame Gouriki, an overexposed celebrity disliked by many in Japan.)

This week, a thread popped up on 2ch, Japan's largest forum, that was filled with polka dot collage sumo pics. Who knew sumo was so sexy? Maybe you did!

Photos: アメブロ館, sonisoni_dori, 眠気, Livedoor, Hayabusa, フォッカチオ広報, ichigo_opannchu

To contact the author of this post, write to or find him on Twitter @Brian_Ashcraft.


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