According to , 37.6 percent of those surveyed by the government said they had no interest in a romantic partner, and most of them cited "bothersome" as their biggest reason for shunning relationships.

But virtual relationships are another matter entirely, and some Japanese men favor virtual companions like Rinko, Nene and Manaka of Konami’s players can adjust the girls’ moods and personalities to suit their preferences, exchange romantic emails and buy gifts.

In an ironic twist, they occasionally had to woo potential subjects with dinner.

D' Aki ended up photographing about 10 people for the story, and events and locations where gamers frequent.

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"Just like in real love, the story has to evolve, otherwise the relationship has no future," he told d' Aki.

Not all who play these games are lonely or out of touch, and d' Aki said she found most stories about romance games to be one-sided and unfair.

He told d' Aki that all he really wants is someone who tells him "good morning" when he wakes each morning and "good night" when he goes to bed each night.

Kosaki, a former player, stopped playing when the developer stopped updating the Nintendo DS version of the game.

You’d be hard pressed to find a single 20-something who isn’t on Tinder, OKCupid, Happn or any one of countless dating apps.