Why do people fake before marrying

Curious: Japanese marries cartoon character

"That was no reason to celebrate for my mother," says the 35-year-old with the soft voice. For him, however, Hatsune Miku is the love of his life.

He was happy to spend the two million yen (more than 15,000 euros) on the wedding ceremony. 40 guests were there when Kondo Miku - present in her version as a handy rag doll - said yes. "I never cheated on her, I always loved Miku-san and I think of her all day," says Kondo, using a form of her name to express his reverence.

The rag doll miku wears the wedding ring around her wrist and sleeps in Kondo's bed. They are also available as an animated hologram in a glass capsule that looks like a modern shrine. The device is called Gatebox and works in a similar way to the intelligent Echo loudspeaker from Amazon - with the crucial difference that with the 2500 Euro Gatebox, the virtual contact person can not only be heard but also seen as a 3D figure.

"I'm in love with the whole concept of Hatsune Miku, but I married the Miku from my house," says Kondo, looking at the blue glowing girl in the glass capsule. She wakes him up every morning, tells him when it is time to go to work, and can also send him longing text messages to the office. When Kondo Miku writes in the evening that he's coming home straight away, she turns on the light.

Bad experiences with flesh and blood women

Kondo sees himself as a normal, married man - even if his marriage is officially not one. A "marriage certificate" from the Gatebox manufacturer confirms that a person and a virtual figure have connected "beyond dimensions".

Kondo is not alone in this - the company has already issued more than 3,700 such certificates, he says. "There are certainly people who do not dare yet, but also want to hold a wedding. I want to encourage them."

Kondo has had bad experiences with women of flesh and blood. "Fuck off!" He heard from girls when he was a teenager obsessed with cartoons. Later, women bullied him in his job until he finally suffered a nervous breakdown, he says. He then decided never to marry a woman - no matter how much his mother pushed him.

There are more and more unmarried men in Japan. One in four Japanese people up to the age of 50 today does not have a wife. In 1980 it was every 50th man.

"Real women age and die"

Real women could cheat on a man, they age and die, Kondo lists the disadvantages of real relationships and affirms: "Miku-san is the woman I love so much. She saved me."

But even if many Japanese are obsessed with anime, the local animated films, Kondo's "wedding" shocked many. Kondo, on the other hand, sees himself as part of a "sexual minority" for whom an intimate relationship with women is out of the question. "That would be like trying to persuade a gay man to have a relationship with a woman," says Kondo, and demands: "We have to accept all forms of love and happiness." (afp)