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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.

Another 48-year-old player spends one of many nights alone in his one-bedroom apartment with his console, chatting with Manaka, his e-girlfriend of five years.

”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.

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.