Recently, a Japanese woman named Ori Kusanagi held a marriage ceremony between herself and Rei Furuya, a handsome secret agent character from Detective Conan. She had rings made, took photos in a wedding dress, and even changed her name to Ori Furuya. Only a year earlier, a man named Akihiko Kondo celebrated his wedding to Vocaloid idol Miku Hatsune and now spends his days living with a $2700 Amazon Echo style hologram of his wife.
These kinds of people are referred to as “fictsexuals” in Japanese for their attraction to 2D characters over real-life humans, and they’re more common than you might think. We’re happy for them that they’ve found joy and companionship in life, but is there a reason why they’ve chosen this path? And could the phenomenon cause problems for the Japanese LGBT community, who fight for their right to be taken seriously and yet still can’t legally marry in their home country? Let’s take a closer look at the factors at play here.
A Solution to Japan’s Dating Problem
Japan’s birth rate has been on a downward trend for decades, and more and more young people are choosing not to bother with relationships at all. Japanese work culture is notoriously intense and time-consuming and houses are often too small to comfortably raise children, so getting married and starting a family can seem like more trouble than it’s worth. But humans still innately desire companionship, so what are they supposed to do?
By “marrying” anime characters, Furuya and Kondo fulfilled their societal obligations to get married without having to deal with the frustrating reality of raising a family in modern Japan. They both also suffer from low self-esteem and mental disorders, and since mental health is a taboo subject in their culture, the joy they feel from being with these characters has helped them tremendously in lieu of the medicine and therapy that they’d be unlikely to find in Japan. The general public’s opinion tends to be mixed when it comes to fictsexuals, but the prevailing sentiment seems to be that if they aren’t hurting anyone, they should do whatever makes them happy.
Is It Harmful to LGBT People?
But what if they are hurting someone? Obviously, they aren’t stalking the voice actors or creators, but it’s possible that the popular consciousness could lump fictsexuals in with the LGBT community as people with “alternative lifestyles” who don’t deserve to be taken seriously or given specific rights. Japanese culture already views lesbian relationships as childish for the most part and it’s rare to see a queer character outside of the segregated yaoi and yuri genres who isn’t a gross stereotype, so lonely otakus who marry anime characters for their own happiness could make those assumptions even worse. Several Japanese Twitter posts seem to point in that direction, at least.
Overall, the act of marrying a fictional character seems to be largely harmless. If it can help people like Furuya and Kondo find comfort in their lives, especially within the minefield that is the Japanese dating scene, then far be it from us to criticize them. We’re a little worried that it could prolong the fight for marriage equality, but as long as everyone realizes that fictsexuals and LGBT people are two very different groups with different intentions, everything should be okay.
What did you think of our overview? What’s your opinion on fictsexuals? Which anime character would you marry if you could? Let us know in the comments, and thanks so much for reading!