Japanese Men Now Dating Virtual Girlfriends

A while back, we brought attention to the intriguing culture of 2-D love, a sub-culture of otaku, which included Japanese men "falling in love" with pillows printed with their favorite anime character. With virtual communities like Second Life, it looks like physical pillows will no longer be necessary since men can now live out their fantasies with cyber girlfriends. Once packed with honeymooners, the Japanese resort town Atami is now looking for a new type of customer. The city launched the LovePlus+ campaign, based on a dating simulation game, and Japanese men and their virtual girlfriends have responded enthusiastically.

LovePlus+ is a game played on Nintendo’s DS system and centers around a weekend outing, which the town Atami is trying to generate in reality. The game allows men to choose one of three possible virtual girlfriends —good girl Manaka, feisty Rinko, or mature Nene. You can participate in activities that young lovers typically do, such as taking walks, holding hands, and sending text messages.

This disturbing news is a clear sign that it may be time to stop obsessing over the internet, gaming systems, handheld devices, etc. and start interacting with the people around us, in the real world. [via WSJ]