Big in Japan: Woman arrested for murdering [virtual] husband

Not sure if you caught this random bit of news last week, but a Japanese woman was arrested for the alleged [virtual] murder of her [virtual] husband…

Apparently, a 43-year old piano teacher from Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido was jailed after allegedly killing her virtual husband in a popular video game, and may face charges of illegally accessing a computer and manipulating data.

According to police officers, the woman was furious at finding herself suddenly divorced in the online game MapleStory. She then proceeded to illegally access the log-in details of the man playing her husband, and killed off his character.

The woman was subsequently arrested at her home in Miyazaki, and then driven in a police car 620 miles (1,000 km) to Sapporo, where her [virtual] husband, a 33-year-old office worker, lives.

Believe it or not, the woman, if convicted, could face up to five years in prison, and a fine of up to $5,000. While Japan might look shiny and happy on the surface, the view is decidedly different in prison where forced labor and overcrowding are the norm rather than the exception.

Think about that the next time you try log-in to your friend’s account in World of Warcraft!

Here is a bit of background that might help you in understanding this random bit of weirdness from the Land of the Rising Sun:

MapleStory, a Korean-made online game, has grown in popularity around the world, particularly in Japan where it has attracted players of both sexes and all ages. The game centers on using your digital avatar to defeat monsters in a 2D world, but players can also actively engage in social activities and relationships, including marriage and divorce.

Confused? Yeah, I must confess that I am too! Anyway, as the story goes…

A Sapporo police official told the Associated Press (AP) news agency that the woman had used the man’s ID and password to log in to the game to carry out the virtual murder.

According the alleged [virtual] murderer: “I was suddenly divorced, without a word of warning. That made me so angry!”

In a country where privacy is a highly valued commodity, digital crimes are certainly not taken lightly, especially when it relates to issues concerning identity theft. Of course, it’s kind of hard not to feel sorry for this heartbroken piano teacher, who most likely couldn’t have imagined that she’d be facing jail time for her ill actions.

After all, rejection, breaking up and divorce are hard on anyone in the real world, so it’s only logical that they carry with them their fair share of pain in the virtual world, right?

What do you think?

** All images displayed on this particular posting are copyrighted images of the online game MapleStory. They are presented here for the purposes of identification and/or critical commentary. They were originally sourced from the WikiCommons Media Project **