Japanese man marries hologram

A man in Japan has married a hologram in Tokyo this month.

Whilst sounding like a plot point from Black Mirror or Bladerunner, Akihiko Kondo, 35, has married a hologram of the 16-year-old Vocaloid Hatsune Miku. A Vocaloid is a Japanese media personality based around the Yamaha Corporation’s Vocaloid voice synthesiser software. Kondo married the hologram after spending the equivalent of nearly £13,700 on a Tokyo ceremony.

Whilst the ceremony is not legally binding, Kondo remains unphased and considers himself an ordinary married man. In addition to the cost of the wedding he spent a further £2,000 on the installation of a home device to further incorporate his holographic bride into his life. She wakes him up, sends him off to his job as a school administrator, and even sleeps beside him in the form a small doll which attended the ceremony, a wedding ring slipped over her left wrist.

When talking about the possibility of dating a “3D woman”, Kondo told Reuters that for him “It’s simply not right, it’s as if you were trying to talk a gay man into dating a woman, or a lesbian into a relationship with a man.”

In Japan the news has been received with some shock, however,attitudes in the UK have been seemingly more liberal. Catarina Goncalves, a member of Brunel Anime Society, said: “I think it is fair enough because he isn’t harming anyone and it’s a fake person, not a real person.” She added that she thought it was unhealthy but said he had the right to do what he wanted.

But this is not a new phenomenon in Japan. In 2009 the Telegraph reported that another Japanese gamer, going by the username Sal9000, married Nene Anegasaki, a character from the Japanese dating simulator Love Plus.

Before the prospect of marrying the hologram, Kondo was not considering marriage, something not unusual amongst Japanese men with one in four choosing to remain single according to a 2017 report from the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research.

Similarly, a recent article from Lancet has noted that global fertility rates have halvedsince the 1970’s. Per woman in 1970, the global fertility rate was 4.7 children but, as of 2017, that number has halved to 2.4. The article also notes that half of all countries studied are experiencing a “baby bust” with a birth rate below that necessary to continue their current populations.

According to the article, Japan has a birth rate of 1.3 children per woman and, with more men deciding to remain unmarried and stories such as Kondo’s becoming more and more prevalent, it does not seem likely to rise in the near future.

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