Japanese Petition to Marry Cartoons

By Gabriel O'Rorke, ABC News London

Whether the man of your dreams is Brad Pitt, Nelson Mandela, or Homer Simpson, most people accept that a crush is just a crush. A fantasy: something to dream about on a rainy afternoon. However, more than 1,000 people in Japan are petitioning to take it to the next level. Taichi Takashita is the man behind the plan: he has created an on-line petition asking for a law to permit civilians to marry comic characters.

Alongside the petition, Takashita explained that he is putting forward the unconventional law because he feels more of a connection with the "two dimensional world" than with reality. "I am no longer interested in three dimensions. I would even like to become a resident of the two-dimensional world," he wrote. "However, that seems impossible with present-day technology. Therefore, at the very least, would it be possible to legally authorize marriage with a two-dimensional character?"

Takashita is not alone in this sentiment. The popularity of formalizing the union between cartoons and humans was instantly apparent. The proof is in the petition. Among the 1,000 supporters who signed, one man expanded on his plea: "For a long time I have only been able to fall in love with two-dimensional people and currently I have someone I really love. Even if she is fictional, it is still loving someone. I would like to have legal approval for this system at any cost."

The popularity of comic books in Japan is no secret. Cartoon characters are frequently elevated to celebrity status. Even Prime Minister, Taro Aso, has spoken of his love of comic books. The British newspaper, The Daily Telegraph, reported that Aso complained of not having time to read comic books since taking office last month. Japanese comics do not, however, always hit the press in a positive light; there was speculation that the murder of 22-year-old British teacher, Lindsay Ann Hawker, in March 2007 was a reenactment of a scenario in a Manga comic.  Piles of the comics, which feature rape and torture, were found at the flat of the man convicted of Hawker’s murderer. Nevertheless, Manga comics, which originated after World War II, and are widely popular in Japan, despite being renowned for their violence.

It is clear that Takashita is not alone in his passion for cartoons. Only last week, on the 24th of October, the lack of distinction between reality and cartoons was compounded when a 43 woman was jailed in Tokyo after losing her temper in a virtual game when her digital husband suddenly divorced her. She logged on with his password and killed his digital persona. Police confirm that the woman has been jailed on suspicion of illegally accessing a computer and manipulating electronic data.

With the numbers of supporters already exceeding a thousand, Takashita’s goal of presenting his petition to the Japanese government is nearing a reality. Although, considering that same-sex relationships are not legal in Japan, the likelihood of a change of law seems dubious.

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