Love is not only blind. It would seem it sometimes is downright absurd too.
One Japanese man married the woman of his dreams – not quite literally but, well, almost.
Because while his songstress wife might not exist in the physical realm, she certainly is visible and audible.
In November last year Akihiko Kondo married a virtual reality singer named Hatsune Miku, an animated 16-year-old with “saucer eyes and lengthy aquamarine pigtails”, as The Japan Times describes her.
Around 40 guests attended their wedding ceremony. Hatsune, a hologram, was “present” in the form of a stuffed doll.
But none of his family members pitched, including his mother.
“For Mother, it wasn’t something to celebrate,” the 36-year-old says.
His family’s absence and lack of support didn’t stop him from spending about R270 000 on a formal ceremony at a hall in Tokyo.
Months before the big day, Akihiko lived with a moving, talking hologram of Hatsune that floats in a desktop device that costs about R42 000.
His marriage might not have legal standing, but Akihiko even took his bride shopping for a wedding ring.
Think he’s out of his mind? Akihiko isn’t bothered. He says Hatsune performs her role as housewife to perfection.
She wakes him every morning and sees him off before he leaves for his job as an administrator at a school. When he tells her by cellphone that he’s on his way home, she switches on the lights. She later tells him when it’s time to go to bed.
“I never cheated on her, I’ve always been in love with Miku-san,” he says.
“I’ve been thinking about her every day.”
And he doesn’t tolerate people who try to dissuade him from his relationship.
“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.
“Diversity in society has been long called for.
“I believe we must consider all kinds of love and all kinds of happiness.”
Akihiko is not alone in his strange quest for love. According to The New York Times, digisexuality is a new form of attraction, primarily found through technology.
Those who consider themselves digisexual are either attracted to sex robots, artificial intelligence, digitally created imagery or feel aroused when engaged in sexual activity with a machine rather than a human, writes The Metro.
And if you think the concept is wild, think again.
Ever had a celebrity you fell madly in love with, though you’ve only ever seen them on screen or in pictures? Physical contact didn’t need to take place for you to be attracted to or obsessed with them.
Neil McArthur, an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Manitoba, and Markie Twist, a professor of human development and family studies at the University of Wisconsin-Stout coined the term digisexual.
“Those who engage in first-wave digisexual activities like watching online porn or online dating for example, most likely don’t consider themselves digisexuals,” Twist tells The Metro.
“Those who do or will engage in second-wave digisexual activities like sex with robots may consider themselves a digisexual,” he adds.
“Their primary engagement with sex tech is the engagement with the technology itself – not as a mediator for human connection or partners.
“In other words, their orientation is to the technology itself not to humans.”
What a time to be alive.