“Britney Spears was NEVER a Lolita!”*

Japanese novelist Novala Takemoto writes “Lolita” novels. Lolita in Japan — like Lolita here — has taken on a different meaning than the traditional Nabokovian one. As this Asahi Shimbun story explains, in Japan, Takemoto is worshipped by the Lolita crowd, “girls and women who favor lace and bonnets and ribbons and frills.”

The piece goes on and on about his outlandish apartment and person, but finally talks about his work. (It’s not unlike pieces about horror writers are usually set up, only the focus here is on how outrageous he is, not how normal.)

Dressed in a mixed Vivian Westwood, Comme des Garcons outfit, he serves iced tea in Alice in Wonderland glasses, setting the beverages on strawberry-patterned coasters.

Takemoto, who will not reveal his age-a ploy to keep his mysterious aura intact-joined the literary crowd with his first novel “Mishin” in 2000. It is the tale of beautiful Lolita punk band vocalist, Mishin, and the high school girl who adores her.

Though Takemoto was nominated for the Yukio Mishima Literary Prize for “Emily” and “Lolita” in 2003 and 2004 respectively, it was “Shimotsuma Monogatari” (Shimotsuma story) that made him a celebrity. A movie based on the book was a huge hit in Japan this year. It is scheduled for release as “Kamikaze Girls” in seven countries including the United States, Italy and Spain.

Known as a novelist with the heart of an otome (maiden), Takemoto says the Lolita sense of beauty is the most important aspect of his writing and his life. In Japan the word “Lolita” conjures up images of girls decked out in outlandishly frilly garb, but he says it is as much a way of living as a fashion statement.

“Lolita is a form of aestheticism. I think Lolita is a condition in which two conflicting elements co-exist without contradiction, for example, something grotesque as well as cute,” he says. “A Lolita loves Alice in Wonderland because the chaotic situation in Wonderland is very Lolitalike.”

I do like the idea that boys can be Lolitas, too. It only seems fair.

*Thanks, Richard!

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