Japanese men and their pillow girlfriends

In Japan, a new subculture has developed of men carrying on romantic relationships with pillow girlfriends. As reported in a recent New York Times article, these “2-D lovers,” are a subgroup of “otaku”: the obsessive fanaticism around anime, hentai (a cross between anime and role playing video games), manga (Japanese comic-books,) and video games. These 2-D girlfriends usually come in the form of pillow cases featuring anime depictions of pubescent girls in erotic poses. And just like the range of pictures on the pillow cases, from innocent to pornographic, these human 2-D lovers come in a wide variety. Some merely like to sleep surrounded by several pillow girls. One man boasts as many as 150 pillow covers at home. Others are monogamous with specific characters, treating their pillow people like true girlfriends, taking them to dates and dinner. In general, these men know these pillow lovers aren't real people, however, they feel that their romantic love for these 2-D girls is tangible.