Akihiko Kondo, a Japanese man who made headlines in 2018 when he married a hologram of the virtual pop star Hatsune Miku, revealed he can no longer talk to his wife.
As reported by the Mainichi Shinbun, Kondo is best known for entering into an official marriage with an AI-powered hologram of the internationally popular character, which was produced by tech start-up Gatebox. While the marriage is not officially recognized by the Japanese government, Kondo spent about 2 million yen (approximately $17,300 USD) to hold a wedding ceremony, which was attended by 39 close friends but not the man's family. Unfortuantely for the couple, in 2020 Gatebox discontinued its AI service for the hologram, which required an internet connection to a central processing server in order to run, similar to how more commonly used voice assistants, such as Amazon's Alexa or Apple's Siri, work.
While Kondo is sad that the hologram can no longer converse with him, he reiterated his love for the virtual singer. "My love for Miku hasn't changed. I held the wedding ceremony because I thought I could be with her forever," Kondo said. While the projection of Miku can no longer respond to his voice, Kondo says he has continued to talk to it, and eats his meals with the now silent virtual character facing him.
Kondo describes himself as a "fictosexual," or someone who is attracted to fictional characters. While he has received some criticism and judgement for his marriage to the computer-generated pop idol, he says the experience has been mostly positive and his relationship with Miku lifted him out of a severe depression that previously left him unable to work or even eat. "I stayed in my room for 24 hours a day, and watched videos of Miku the whole time," Kondo said. According to him, the support he feels from Miku has allowed him to rejoin society and live a healthier life.
Hatsune Miku first debuted in 2007 and was the first of Crypton Future Media's "Vocaloids," a series of voice synthesizers that approximate the sound of a human singing voice. The character quickly became a sensation amongst Japanese anime and pop music enthusiasts, and is now at the center of a merchandising empire that has expanded beyond the original program and now includes full-length albums, a line of video games by Sega, and countless figurines and other collectibles. Despite being a virtual character, Miku has held live performances through the use of holograms, and even went on tour with Lady Gaga in 2014.
Michael is one of CBR's Anime News Editors, a Link main in Smash Bros., and once tried to eat 100 tacos in one sitting (He tapped out after about thirty.) After working for several years as a writer and copy editor for companies like an advertising agency and a music label, Michael has come to CBR to pursue his true passion: sharing his love for giant robots and collectible monsters.