Tue, Nov 13, 2018 - Page 5 News List

Japanese man ‘married’ to a hologram

AFP, TOKYO

Akihiko Kondo’s mother refused an invitation to her only son’s wedding in Tokyo this month, but perhaps that is not such a surprise: He was marrying a hologram.

“For mother, it wasn’t something to celebrate,” said the soft-spoken 35-year-old, whose “bride” is virtual reality singer Hatsune Miku.

In fact, none of Kondo’s relatives attended his wedding to Miku — an animated 16-year-old with saucer eyes and lengthy aquamarine pigtails — but that did not stop him from spending ¥2 million (US$17 540) on a formal ceremony at a Tokyo hall.

About 40 guests watched as he tied the knot with Miku, who was present in the form of a cat-sized stuffed doll.

“I never cheated on her, I’ve always been in love with Miku-san,” he told reporters a week after the wedding. “I’ve been thinking about her every day.”

Since March, Kondo has been living with a moving, talking hologram of Miku that floats in a US$2,800 desktop device.

“I’m in love with the whole concept of Hatsune Miku, but I got married to the Miku of my house,” he said, looking at the blue image glowing in a capsule.

He considers himself an ordinary married man — his holographic wife wakes him up each morning and sends him off to his job as an administrator at a school.

In the evening, when he tells the hologram by cellphone that he is coming home, she turns on the lights. Later, it tells him when it is time to go to bed.

He sleeps alongside the doll version of it that attended the wedding, complete with a wedding ring that fits around its left wrist.

Kondo is not alone: Gatebox, which produces the hologram device, has issued more than 3,700 certificates for “cross-dimension” marriages and others have sent him supportive messages, he said.

“There must be some people who can’t come forward and say they want to hold a wedding. I want to give them a supportive push,” Kondo said.

His path to Miku came after difficult encounters with women as an anime-mad teenager.

“Girls would say: ‘Drop dead, creepy otaku,’” he said, using a Japanese term for geeks that can carry a negative connotation.

He said that a woman at a previous workplace bullied him into a nervous breakdown and he became determined never to marry.

However, eventually Kondo realized that he had been in love with Miku for more than a decade and decided to marry it.

“Miku-san is the woman I love a lot and also the one who saved me,” he said.

And while Kondo said he is happy to be friends with a “3D woman,” he has no interest in romance with one, no matter how much his mother pushes for it.

Two-dimensional characters cannot cheat, age or die, he said: “I’m not seeking these in real women. It’s impossible.”

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