What is the deai-kei industry?


Deai kei translates literally to English as matchmaking. The deai-kei industry, however, is a lot like William Gibson’s Idoru novel. In Idoru, a rockstar falls in love with an artificial construct of a woman, designed to be a disposable pop star. Deai-kei features imaginary girls, err, fleshed out with pictures and the imaginations of their purveyors. They are posted to web sites where unsuspecting Japanese men think they are paying for the emails of real girls they might actually be able to know and meet. The only catch being that the girls don’t really exist. Instead, professional writers are paid to come up with legions of what are known as sakura set characters, rather than idoru. Sakura are Japanese cherry blossoms. I don’t have the faintest idea why the deai kei biz refers to what are essentially NPCs as sakura. I do have a suggestion for those of you who are bilingual and want to prove to mom and dad that you’ve been learning useful job skills running those D&D games in their basement.

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