Japanese Men Vacation With Virtual Girls

Is this the future in a world where we socialize online rather than in person? Daisuke Wakabayashi reports for the Wall Street Journal:

ATAMI, Japan—This resort town, once popular with honeymooners, is turning to a new breed of romance seekers—virtual sweethearts.

Since the marriage rate among Japan’s shrinking population is falling and with many of the country’s remaining lovebirds heading for Hawaii or Australia’s Gold Coast, Atami had to do something. It is trying to attract single men—and their handheld devices.

In the first month of the city’s promotional campaign launched July 10, more than 1,500 male fans of the Japanese dating-simulation game LovePlus+ have flocked to Atami for a romantic date with their videogame character girlfriends.

The men are real. The girls are cartoon characters on a screen. The trips are actual, can be expensive and aim to re-create the virtual weekend outing featured in the game, a product of Konami Corp. played on Nintendo Co.’s DS videogame system.

“Atami has always been a romantic place, but it is now a romantic place for a modern generation,” says Sakae Saito, Atami’s mayor.

Love Plus+ re-creates the experience of an adolescent romance. The goal isn’t just to get the girl but to maintain a relationship with her.

After choosing one of three female characters—goodie-goodie Manaka, sassy Rinko or big-sister type Nene—to be a steady girlfriend, the player taps a stylus on the DS touch-screen in order to walk hand-in-hand to school, exchange flirtatious text messages and even meet in the school courtyard for a little afternoon kiss. Using the device’s built-in microphone, the player can carry on sweet, albeit mundane, conversations…

[continues in the Wall Street Journal]

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  • Vox Penii

    VoxMagi has repeatedly insisted that the Japanese better appreciate subtlety than Americans, so I suppose that dating a cartoon character is yet another manifestation of the inscrutable subtlety of the empire of the rising sun.

  • Vox Penii

    VoxMagi has repeatedly insisted that the Japanese better appreciate subtlety than Americans, so I suppose that dating a cartoon character is yet another manifestation of the inscrutable subtlety of the empire of the rising sun.

    • Tuna Ghost

      More likely an example of the results of the terrible repression and stress they’re put under from an early age rearing it’s ugly head. There are several more, even more disturbing than this. For the record, it has been acknowleged in several academic journals, all over the world, that japanese culture appreciates subtlety and indirectness far more than the US culture, which is hardly surprising.

  • justagirl

    did you see the size of those ds screens?! good idea for a game, but, they seem to be taking advantage of the lonely ones.

  • Hadrian999

    …..and their hand held devices

  • GoodDoktorBad

    Me so NOT horny……

    I think I’ll make love to my teddy bear, at least he’s REAL…..

  • Anonymous

    Me so NOT horny……

    I think I’ll make love to my teddy bear, at least he’s REAL…..

  • Simiantongue

    They set everything up as if it is really two people? How would that not be in your face lonely to eat and sleep with an empty place setting always nearby?

  • Simiantongue

    They set everything up as if it is really two people? How would that not be in your face lonely to eat and sleep with an empty place setting always nearby?

  • emperorreagan

    Do you think I could trade Japanese men DS games for their hot wives?

  • Dcartlover

    Yahweh needs to smite these people for their own good!

    • connie dobbs

      Is that your dog’s name? The jews might get mad.

  • Renehto

    Oh God. What has science done.

  • Renehto

    Oh God. What has science done.

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