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Some Japanese men are wooing girlfriends who don’t exist.
While they can only interact with their partner through a pre-written script, these virtual beauties — Rinko, Manaka or Nene — offer a kind of instant emotional connection at the tap of a stylus.
Another 48-year-old player spends one of many nights alone in his one-bedroom apartment with his console, chatting with Manaka, his e-girlfriend of five years.
Some like Kosaki, stopped playing Love Plus when the Konami, the game's developer, stopped offering update to the Nintendo DS version.
“He said, ‘Well, you know all I want is someone to say good morning to in the morning and someone to say goodnight to at night.’”These feelings are not limited to Japanese men – game developers have also released romance simulations that cater to women .
It’s one of Japan’s biggest gaming phenomenons called Love Plus - available on the Nintendo portable consoles and the i Phone.“There is no friction in these relationships, obviously,” says Loulou d’Aki, a Swedish photographer who documented a number of Japanese players earlier this year.
We’re not sure it’s fair to suggest that some Japanese men aren’t equally considerate, but it is surprising how easy it is to be called a “gentleman” here in Japan simply by not knocking people down to get on the train first.