My NYT Magazine article on 2D Love is online!


My New York Times Magazine story about guys who are in love with anime characters is online. The main protagonist is Nisan, a thirty-something year old man who has a body pillow girlfriend named Nemutan. This is a photo I took of Nisan and Nemutan during our interview, at his favorite salad bar in Hachioji. Read it here, or buy the print version of the NYT Magazine this coming Sunday to read it on paper.

Love in 2D
[New York Times Magazine]

9 thoughts on “My NYT Magazine article on 2D Love is online!

  1. That was an interesting article. I hope readers can make the distinction between this fringe phenomenon and the more normal lifestyles led by everyday Japanese people.
    One question: Your article cites a government study indicating that a quarter of Japanese between ages 30-34 are virgins. Do you have a link to that study, or at least which government body released it?

  2. While some readers may think “those crazy Japanese,” I think most won’t. But having said that, this is just not normal:
    A more serious 2-D lover, like Nisan, actually believes that a lumpy pillow with a drawing of a prepubescent anime character [from a porn game] on it is his girlfriend.

  3. I am suprised that you didn’t bring up that this could be moe gone wrong.
    You know what I am saying, yes?
    There could be more to this story than you have reported.

  4. I’m so stupid — I didn’t read the rest of the article. Of course you mentioned moe. Nice work!

  5. Yes, I saw that! This always happens when I write an article about Japan. People get mad and question the authenticity of my sources, and then start criticizing what kind of person I am, etc. But it’s not my job to monitor how people read into things or to divulge my sources to the world. Like all professional writers, I only use primary sources unless they’re absolutely unavailable, and I don’t write about topics I have biases about unless it’s an explicitly subjective piece. I think it’s great for people to hold opinions about my writing, but if you say something mean on my blog or elsewhere, or harass me on Twitter, I’m not gonna write back to you. The NY Times has a fact-check department, and they’ll correct anything that’s wrong.

  6. Lisa, I agree with most everything you have written above except for two things:
    1) I don’t think the mutant frog post was mean or hateful. However, some of the comments are certainly out of line.
    2) You should clearly state the source for the statistics, unless of course this is some government official speaking on the condition of anonymity because he/she is not authorized to comment on the sex life of 30-year old Japanese citizens and will be shamed into ritual suicide if you reveal your source. 😉
    Why? Because a statistic is absolutely meaningless without corresponding information on how is was calculated and on how the data were collected.
    While a piece on quirky subculture in the NYT mag is not on the same level as, for example, the IPCC report (since I assume your writing is not going to influence governmental policy), trust me when I say that tossing out statistics that no one can verify is only asking for trouble if the statistic is linked to something that a significantly large (or loud) group of people consider controversial.
    It would seem that your NYT piece is considered controversial by either a large or loud group of people who have questions regarding statistics because they (correctly or not) believe the use of said statistics misleads the reader.
    BTW, did you know that 95% of scientists believe that global warming is liberal BS?

  7. Yeah, if you refer to a study always, always, ALWAYS explicitly state who did it and the name of the study in question.
    If the story is online put a link to it right there.
    Also, I don’t like the mutantfrog criticism that it focuses more on Nisan that the bigger issues. It’s a features story in a magazine. This is how they’re supposed to be written.