Japan's Kao Chekki (Face Check) Proves That Vanity Apps Know No Boundaries

On Facebook, there is no shortage of apps that tell you what celebrity you look like based on your photo (FaceDouble is the most popular), but in Japan we like our vanity apps on our mobile phones. After all, the camera is built in. Take the case of Kao Chekki (Face Check) by J-Magic, a web company that was totally unknown until the end of April 2007, when it caused a Japan-wide frenzy with its free Kao Chekki service. By June 2007, the mobile site had registered an incredible 20 million requests, and continues to be popular to this day.

The service is quite simple and cleverly plays with human vanity: People submit their photograph from their cell phones to check which (Japanese and international) celebrities they resemble the most. Kao Chekki scans the pictures and emails back the top three celebrity matches, including percentage match, a few moments later.

Kao Chekki works very well with Japanese faces (trustme on that one), but seems to have slight problems with foreigners. Michael and Erick really don’t resemble Gori-san and Kiyokiba-san, respectively, do they? Although, Gori-san is known as a cut-up.

The site’s overwhelming success spawned a number of copycats, including a rather bizarre service called Koe Chekki (Voice Check): Here, users call a phone number, leave a short message and are then emailed back to their cell phones with a list of celebrities with similar voices. Okay, maybe that one won’t translate overseas.