Japanese Virtual Wife Nags You to Eat Right

Japanese Virtual Wife Nags You to Eat RightJapanese Virtual Wife Nags You to Eat Right
The Virtual Wife... no, it's not what you think, even though this new health and nutrition reminder service comes from Japan.

Japan's average population is getting older and everyone, including the government, is worried about the nation's health. In that sort of climate it's only natural for everyone to be constantly on their guard against Metabolic Syndrome (metabo in Japan) a combination of medical conditions that act in conjunction to increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

If you're a busy, on-the-go "salaryman", your loving wife isn't with you during the day to ensure you're eating right. What to do? Get a virtual wife from Metabo-info, of course! Working in association with ITMedia's +D Mobile, the no-cost  service sends advisory messages to the subscriber's cellphone 4 times a day, encouraging the recipient to watch his calorie intake and avoid unhealthy foods & drinks.


Curiously in this day and age, though not so unusual for Japan's rigid society, Metabo-info doesn't offer "virtual hubbys" for stressed-out career women. Instead, 4 typical personalities are offered: a business-like professional woman, a "kind, pretty" housewife, a young "sporty" trendsetter and - wait for it - a maid.

The virtual housewives' heights are given for some unfathomable reason but their other, ahem, measurements remain a mystery. Sorry, Charlie-san.

If I was going to be cynical, I'd say that the virtual wife service is just one more way for henpecked Japanese husbands to get nagged. So much for stress relief... my virtual wife's mosquito-like nattering every couple of hours would drive me to drink, and heavily at that. At least the service doesn't report back to the actual wife via the cellphone's built-in camera... yet! (via Japan Sugoi)

Dec 3, 2008
by Anonymous

virtual wife, from a woman's perspective

I appreciate reading comments from a male point of view. I was surprisingly relieved to know you weren't all for it.

From a woman's point of view, the virtual wife is another negative role for women in Japan. "The nagging wife/girlfriend" is not a role that women like to be connected to.
Why does it have to be a woman in the first place?

Men spend most of their time listening to other men. Japanese men form great bonds with each other. Whether it's the best friend, coworker, or apprenticeship, the male bond is alloted a great deal of nurturing while the male-female relationship takes a back seat. So why not have a virtual buddy, male colleague, master, or more appropriately, A DOCTOR, send a reminder to eat healthier. Better yet, why not have men take responsibility for what they put in their own mouths. After all, they are MEN, not boys.

An Nguyen

Dec 3, 2008
by Steve Levenstein
Steve Levenstein's picture


Absolutely An, excellent point! In fact, celebrities like pro sports stars, actors and other male role models could probably do very well licensing their avatars to be "virtual buddies" - and, they would likely be more effective then virtual wives.