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Meet The Men Who Prefer Virtual Girlfriends To 'Going Out With A 3D Woman'

Caroline Moss
Otaku Game


In Tokyo, there's a subset of men called otaku,

  a generation who has grown up through 20 years of economic stagnation and have chosen to immerse themselves in their own fantasy worlds.

These men  have taken on a mole-like existence and, worryingly, withdrawn from relationships with the opposite sex. 

Instead, they prefer their virtual girlfriends, which they create in a Nintendo-based game called  Love Plus, which comes as a small portable tablet.

The BBC talked to two otaku, Nurikan and Yuge, who believe themselves to be in relationships with their Love Plus girlfriends, named Rinko and Ne-ne.

Nurikan and Yuge take Rinko and Ne-ne on actual dates to the park, and buy them cakes to celebrate their birthdays.

"It's the kind of relationship we wish we'd had at high school," Nurikan told the BBC, "[When] s he's at high school, she picks me up in the morning and we go to school together. After school we meet at the gates and go home together... In the game I am 17."

In reality, the men are 38 and 39, respectively. Nurikan is even married, but keeps his virtual girlfriend a secret from his wife. He says the relationship he has with Rinko is a lot easier to manage.

Yuge has no desire to date what he calls a "3D woman". 

"At high school you can have relationships without having to think about marriage," says Yuge. "With real girlfriends you have to consider marriage. So I think twice about going out with a 3D woman."

Otaku 2 Game


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