Akihiko Kondo of Tokyo became the doting husband to a Japanese pop star earlier this month – but not one that is human.
His bride, Hatsune Miku, is a hologram that uses a voice synthesizer to perform in sold-out shows worldwide. The 16-year-old cartoon character, who sports long turquoise pigtails, made waves in Japan’s technological landscape when she first came out in 2007, but didn’t seem to quite impress Akihiko's family.
“For mother, it wasn’t something to celebrate,” Akihiko, 35, told Japan Times. In fact, no members of his family attended the ¥2,000,000 (approximately $18,000) ceremony he held in a rented-out venue.
While the official image of Hatsune, developed by company Gatebox, has not been redrawn to sport a ring nor could Akihiko outfit a ring for the personal hologram version of Hastune he owns, he did take a plush version to the jewelry store to be outfitted for a wedding band.
“I’m in love with the whole concept of Hatsune Miku, but I got married to the Miku of my house,” Akihiko explained. “I never cheated on her. I’ve always been in love with Miku-san.”
He explained that he’s had an aversion to women from a young age, ever since he went through an anime-loving phase as a teen.
“Girls would say, ‘Drop dead, creepy otaku,’” Akihiko explained, referring to the Japanese term for those obsessed with anime and manga, loosely translated to “geek” or “nerd” in English. He said his female peers continued to bully him into his adulthood.
But he said his relationship with a Hatsune Miku hologram he purchased for his home, comparable to an Amazon Echo, pulled him out of his social anxiety and offered him qualities he would never find in human women, like the ability to never age and unconditional faithfulness.
“I’m not seeking these in real women, it’s impossible,” he explained. “It’s as if you were trying to talk a gay man into dating a woman or a lesbian [woman] into a relationship with a man.”
While his family continues to hope he will one day pursue a relationship with a human woman, Akihiko said his relationship with the hologram is no different than any other marriage.
Every morning, the hologram wakes him up and sees him off as he leaves for work. In the evening, Akihiko calls her on his cellphone and lets Hatsune know that he is on his way home. Hatsune wishes him goodnight when it’s time to go to bed, and the plush version of the hologram sleeps next to him in their bed, now wearing a ring around her left wrist.
What Is Objectum Sexuality (OS)?
Akihiko is not alone.
Sometimes referred to as objectophilia, OS has to do with the attraction and commitment to inanimate objects and is thought to be related to the autism spectrum, an antisocial personality disorder, or past trauma.
However, Erika Eiffel, a San Francisco woman married to the Eiffel Tower, disagrees.
“OS people have a spectrum just as society does from one extreme to the next. It's a misconception that OS people only love objects and cannot relate to people on any level,” she wrote in an interview with support group Objectum-Sexuality Internationale. “The reality is, most OS people are social but choose not to expose themselves to public scrutiny and jeopardize the balance they have established.”
Eija-Riitta Berliner-Mauer, 54, of Sweden, is also known in the OS community for having married the Berlin Wall.
Lee Jin-gyu of Korea is married to a body pillow depicting his favorite anime character.
Amy Wolfe, of Pennsylvania, says she is passionately in love with an Elysburg amusement park ride, 1001 Nacht.
Edward Smith of Washington state claims he has had sex with hundreds of cars and is in a relationship with Vanilla, a vintage Volkswagen Beetle.