Japanese Men and Their Virtual Lovers

One of the more strange stories I read recently was of the emergence of the otaku in Japan. These guys are obsessed with manga, anime and computers. They prefer it to sex, even going as far as having virtual girlfriends.

For those of you who don’t know, anime and manga are a form of Japanese animation which is popular the world over. Still, these Japanese men are taking it to a whole new level.

A survey by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare in 2010 found that 36% of males aged between 16 and 19 had no interest in sex, a figure that had doubled over the space of two years.


The BBC in England caught up with two of the otaku, who both believe themselves to be in a relationship with a virtual female. Nurikan and Yuge, in reality have a Nintendo computer game called Love Plus.

Still, this doesn’t stop them taking their ‘girlfriends’, Rinko and Ne-Ne on actual dates, and buying them cakes for their birthday. Despite the gents being 38 and 39 in the real world, their characters are 15 and 17 respectively.

They go on to mention that in their fantasy world they meet at the school gates at the end of the day, and go home together. Yuge says he often puts ‘Ne-Ne’ in the basket of his bicycle, and takes photographs of them at their destination.

Even Japanese men who are in relationships don’t seem to be having that much real sex. Of those surveyed, only 27% of couples said they had sex every week, whilst only 2% of babies were born out of wedlock.

Why does it happen?

The question has to be, what has caused this lack of carnal desire? I am not going to start believing that this is a genetic phenomenon. We are all cut from the same cloth, so it has to be a sociological issue.


The prevalent theory is that this is a symptom of the Japanese economic downturn that has affected the country for 20 years. Before that, the country was built on a structure of drive, passion and success. this went back to its military days, and then the alpha-males that made the country such a powerhouse after the war.

Instead of joining a big company, the men have become devoid of passion, preferring their fantasy world. The reality where they are pretty much guaranteed to not be as successful as their parents is rather unappealing.

Look at the way they Nurikan and Yuge are 15 and 17 in the game. They are children, or certainly youths. They don’t have to worry about the complexities of life, such as marriage or getting to the top of the business world. They can sit in their own virtual world, which they make perfect for themselves.

In a society where success was everything, a lack of prospective success has crippled young men emotionally.

Get a Grip!

Now that is my empathy done for the day. I still don’t get it. Instead of moping around, go and get a real girlfriend. There are so many gorgeous women out there, as reflected in the Dublin escorts. With so many to choose from, why go with the electronic option?

In the end life is what you make it. If you go into your own world, there will come a point that you realise you are just speaking to a computer game.

So go on Japanese men; have more sex and make more babies!

Martin Ward
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