The man who married virtual popstar Hatsune Miku laments the shutdown of his hologram’s AI service, but says his love for the character remains.
Akihiko Kondo, a Japanese man who made headlines in 2018 when he married a hologram virtual pop star Hatsune Miku, has revealed he can no longer talk to his wife.
As reported by Mainichi Shinbun, Kondo is best known for having entered into an official marriage with an AI-powered hologram of the internationally popular character, which was produced by tech start-up Gatebox. Although the marriage is not officially recognized by the Japanese government, Kondo spent around 2 million yen (approximately US$17,300) to hold a wedding ceremony attended by 39 close friends but not the man’s family. Unfortunately for the couple, in 2020 Gatebox discontinued its AI service for the hologram, which required an internet connection to a central processing server to operate, similar to the most commonly used voice assistants, such whether 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 arranged the wedding ceremony because I thought I could be with her forever,” Kondo said. As Miku’s projection can no longer respond to her voice, Kondo says he has continued to talk to her, and eats his meals with the now silent virtual figure in front of him.
Kondo describes himself as a “fictosexual” or someone who is attracted to fictional characters. Although he received criticism and judgment for his marriage to the computer-generated pop idol, he says the experience was quite positive and his relationship with Miku pulled him out of a severe depression. which previously prevented him from working or even eating. “I stayed in my room 24 hours a day and watched videos of Miku the whole time,” Kondo said. According to him, the support he feels from Miku has enabled him to reintegrate into society and live a healthier life.
Hatsune Miku 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 among Japanese anime and pop music fans, and is now at the center of a merchandising empire that has expanded beyond the original program and now includes full albums, a lineup of Sega video games and countless figurines. and other collectibles. Although a virtual character, Miku has held live performances through the use of holograms and even toured with Lady Gaga in 2014.
Source: Mainichi Shinbun
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