Japanese man spends $24,000 to marry hologram
TOKYO: Mr Akihiko Kondo's mother refused an invitation to her only son's wedding in Tokyo - he was marrying a hologram.
"For mother, it wasn't something to celebrate," said the soft-spoken 35-year-old, whose "bride" is a virtual reality singer named Hatsune Miku.
None of Mr 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 yen (S$24,260) on a formal ceremony at a Tokyo hall.
Around 40 guests watched as he tied the knot with Miku, present in the form of a cat-sized stuffed doll.
Since March, Mr Kondo has been living with a moving, talking hologram of Miku that floats in a US$2,800 (S$3,800) desktop device.
He considers himself an ordinary married man - his holographic wife wakes him up each morning and sends him off to his job as a school administrator.
In the evening, when he tells her by mobile phone that he is coming home, she turns on the lights. Later, she tells him when it is time to go to bed.
He sleeps alongside the doll version of her, complete with a wedding ring on her left wrist.
Gatebox, the company that produces the hologram device featuring Miku, has issued a "marriage certificate", which certifies that a human and a virtual character have wed "beyond dimensions".
Mr Kondo is not alone. He said Gatebox has issued more than 3,700 certificates for "cross-dimension" marriages, and some people have sent him supportive messages.
"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," he told AFP.
Mr Kondo's path to Miku came after difficult encounters with women as an anime-mad teenager.
As he got older, a woman at a previous workplace bullied him into a nervous breakdown.
Eventually, Mr Kondo realised he had been in love with Miku for more than a decade and decided to marry her.
"Miku-san is the woman I love a lot and also the one who saved me," he said. - AFP