Long gone are the days in which your elementary school friend or your grandma would hook you up with that cute girl or guy they think is perfect for you.Some Japanese men are wooing girlfriends who don’t exist.One player holds a picture of him and his virtual girlfriend, Manaka, at a resort town called Atami, which caters to players on a weekend retreat programmed into the game.The scam sites are believed to have enriched the men to the tune of more than £34 million since they were set up in 2004, taking advantage of millions of lonely men who wasted time and money engaging in online conversations with employees operating fake accounts.And Japan is slowly falling in line with this trend, so don't be left behind. There seems to be a certain stigma towards dating apps here in Japan.
Websites would require men to pay fees to subscribe in order to call beautiful 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.
“The girls behave very sweetly with the guys in what they say, how they respond to them, and with big eyes and heart-shaped faces—who wouldn’t want that?
”D’Aki teamed up with Swiss science writer Roland Fischer and together, they sought to go beyond the existing online conversation.
“When you Google ‘Japan’ and ‘love’, you find all these articles about lonely people who never get married,” she says. I wanted to show the human aspect, the individual stories behind those who use these applications.”Her images reveal the secret lives of thirty-somethings who have accepted living alone instead of looking for love.