It is a truth of modern life that technology can cause issues in a marriage.
But the complications of phones, tablets, computers and other facets of 21st-century life are nothing next to the plight of Japan’s Akihiko Kondo, who can’t talk to his wife anymore because her software no longer is supported.
Such is the price Kondo paid for being what’s called a fictosexual and marrying a hologram of a fictional character, according to the New York Post.
Kondo, 38, had what he termed a wedding ceremony in 2018 when he married Hatsune Miku, who in Japanese anime culture is a 16-year-old pop singer with turquoise hair.
A #fictosexual man who wed a computer-synthesized pop singer in #Japon four years ago, Akihiko Kondo spent $17,300, on the nuptials, but his family did not attend🤭
Now he says can no longer speak with ‘Miku’ due to a ‘technological hurdle.’😆😆#MainichiNews 👍 pic.twitter.com/qj33gDuubl
— Mr Pål Christiansen 🇳🇴😍🇬🇧 (@TheNorskaPaul) April 27, 2022
Because being a fictosexual is more popular than one might think, there arose technology to feed that niche: Gatebox emerged — a $1,300 machine that allowed those in love with what was not real to talk to their characters and unofficially marry them.
When the BBC checked in on the marriage in 2019, it reported that Miku was a “hologram that lives in a glass capsule on a shelf in the corner of the room, and the cuddly toy with its big soft head and small body that he holds close at night.”
But the course of true love is never smooth. Support for Gatebox software has ended. That means Kondo no longer can talk to his hologram wife.
Has society lost all its guardrails?
“My love for Miku hasn’t changed,” he said, according to the Post. “I held the wedding ceremony because I thought I could be with her forever.”
But instead of the hologram, Kondo now carries a life-sized version of her.
“When we’re together, she makes me smile,” he said recently, according to The New York Times. “In that sense, she’s real.”
Kondo said he fell in love with the character in 2008 after years of being bullied.
After multiple rejections from people in the real world, he said, “I stayed in my room for 24 hours a day and watched videos of Miku the whole time.”
One commentator said the line between reality and fantasy is blurred in a world of electronics.
“You have the comics, the cartoons, the games kind of building up a sort of infrastructure where characters become more important to people,” said Patrick Galbraith, an associate professor in the School of International Communication at Senshu University in Tokyo.
Can you imagine the #marriagecounseling sessions “It’s like your not really there for me. I mean like you are there but your not really there” #fictosexual #weirdscience#mentalillnesshttps://t.co/1QcBvFtUTh
— Kozi (@King_Kozi) April 26, 2022
Neither his co-workers nor family attended his wedding, but 39 people did show up, mostly strangers and online pals.
“There are two reasons why I had a wedding publicly,” he told the BBC at the time.
“The first one is to prove my love to Miku. The second one is there are many young otaku people like me falling in love with anime characters. I want to show the world that I support them.
Otaku is a Japanese word that is roughly translated as “geek.”
The Times report noted the end of his visits with his hologram wife.
“On the day the company turned her off, Mr. Kondo said goodbye for the last time and left for work. When he went home that night, Miku’s image had been replaced by the words ‘network error.’ Someday, he hopes, they will be reunited.
“Maybe she’ll take on new life as an android, or they will meet in the metaverse,” the Times reported. “Either way, Mr. Kondo said, he plans to be faithful to her until he dies.”