In the new frontier of human degeneracy, a Japanese man has skipped over the marrying robots phase and plunged straight into marrying immaterial, inanimate objects, namely, a hologram.
According to AFP, 35-year-old Japanese school administrator Akihiko Kondo recently betrothed himself to a hologram named Hatsune Miku — a virtual reality singer that looks like "an animated 16-year-old with saucer eyes and lengthy aquamarine pigtails."
Kondo's family has not exactly welcomed his holographic "wife" with open arms. In fact, his mother refused his "wedding" invitation along with other relatives.
"For mother, it wasn't something to celebrate," Kondo told AFP.
Family disapproval, however, did not stop Kondo from blowing two million yen ($17,600) on a formal ceremony at a Tokyo hall where 40 guests were in attendance. Miku was "present in the form of a cat-sized stuffed doll." At home, the hologram floats in a $2,800 desktop device — being low-maintenance and frugal are not among this holographic spouse's strong suits.
Despite the criticism, Kondo maintains that both he and his new "wife" are quite happy, and, best of all, faithful. He also routinely refers to her by the honorific title "san."
"I never cheated on her, I've always been in love with Miku-san," he told AFP. "I've been thinking about her every day."
The Hatsune Miku program is commonly used in Japan; Kono's wife is not one of a kind creation. The equivalent here in the U.S. would be if someone married iPhone's Siri or Amazon Alexa.
"I'm in love with the whole concept of Hatsune Miku but I got married to the Miku of my house," Kono says.
The company that created Miku, Gatebox, has gone along with Kono in his delusion rather than disavowing him as a madman who misapplied one of their products. In fact, the company has even issued Kono a mock "marriage certificate," which declares that he and his virtual counterpart have married "beyond dimensions."
Perhaps even more pathetic is the fact that Kono is not the only unhinged hologram-enthusiast who has misapplied the Gatebox product. The company has actually issued more than 3,700 so-called "marriage certificates" for such unions; a whole new community of hologram-wed people appears to be sprouting up.
Kono's rejection of real women and virtual devotion to Miku comes after a life of awkward pratfalls with human ladies, who constantly rejected him as an "anime-mad teenager." At a previous workplace, women also apparently bullied him into a nervous breakdown to the point of him vowing to never marry. That obviously changed, albeit, in an awkward direction.
As funny as it all sounds, the family situation in Japan is no laughing matter, a country where the birthrate has plummeted to dangerous levels. The Japan Times reports:
The number of children in Japan fell for the 37th consecutive year to yet another record low, signaling that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s efforts to combat the low birthrate are still wanting.
There were 15.53 million Japanese and other children in the nation as of April 1, down 170,000 from a year earlier and the least since comparable data became available in 1950, data released by the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry showed Friday. A child is defined as anyone 14 years old or younger. The ratio of children to the overall population dipped to a record low of 12.3 percent, down for the 44th straight year.
Among 32 countries with a population of 40 million or more, Japan had the lowest ratio, outpacing Germany at 13.2 percent and South Korea at 13.1 percent, according to the United Nations Demographic Yearbook.