In Japan, the land of eye widening surgery and belly button removal, bagelheads have been a part of the body modification scene for years. Usually young urban clubgoers, bagelheads sport abnormally swollen foreheads, created by a technician inserting 400 grams of saline solution directly into the forehead, and creating an indentation with their thumb to make the bagel shape. The technique was reportedly pioneered by Canadian photographer Jerome Abramovitch, who started saline infusions at an extreme body modification conference in 1999.
According to one partygoer, the infusion feels like something slowly dripping down one's head, and the slow formation of the bagel makes them feel like they can gradually turn into someone unique. The procedure is usually done before underground parties, and after about 16 hours of reveling in individuality, the bagelhead returns to normal as the saline is absorbed by the body.
While is possible that bagelheads push the line between individuality and madness, stories of body modification are hardly news anymore. In fact, on the face of it, bagelhead events are not that different than suburban Botox parties. The oddest thing about the bagelheads, therefore, is probably that they have been appearing in the international news as a new Japanese phenomenon even though they have existed for years.
Odder still, many Japanese claim to be confused by the stories that tout it as the newest fad, never having heard of it themselves. According to Japanese Blogger Keropy Madea there is one possible explanation. "It seems like last year, the television crews that were in Japan for the Fukushima nuclear fallout were looking for something new to shoot about youth culture, and they jumped on bagelheads."