A 27-year age gap has not deterred a former idol from marrying her much-older fan in Japan.
Met at 17 and 44
Yuki Tomoe first met her now-husband, Mitsuo, when she was 17 and he was 44, according to Nikkan Spa.
It was 2020, and Tomoe had debuted as a new member of an idol group in Osaka. Before, Tomoe was just a substitute member.
Mitsuo, who had been a supporter of the existing group members, switched to become a huge fan of Tomoe, reported Sina.
"The moment I saw her, I felt like I was looking at a sparkling, shiny rock," said Mitsuo.
He said he was stunned by her debut:
"Even though she was new, her performances were amazing, and very cute. So I decided to support her."
Though he was based in Oita, he would travel to Osaka every week to catch her performance, and would never miss the online live events either.
Tomoe made the first move
Tomoe started to take notice of Mitsuo soon enough.
"I feel like he is different from other fans. I can confide in him and talk to him about my troubles that I would never tell anyone else.
Once, he wasn't there at our concert. I thought it was weird as he always came, and I started looking for him onstage. Without him in the audience, I felt empty. From that moment on, I realised I seem to like him."
Tomoe took the initiative and eventually confessed her feelings to Mitsuo.
Mitsuo said he never thought this day would come.
"After all, I'm just a fan. If an idol says they like you, maybe they only like you as a fan. I couldn't believe it when she said she liked me as a person... So I said, let's start dating then!"
Tomoe graduated from the idol group around the same time they started dating, reported Sina.
Met Tomoe's parents after dating for a week
Because of their age difference, those who knew the pair disapproved of their relationship.
Mitsuo's friends and colleagues were envious and worried for him, and warned him that he might be getting scammed, as their relationship "was hard to believe" since Tomoe was "so young and cute".
Just one week into dating, Mitsuo thought it was better for him to pay a visit to Tomoe's parents sooner rather than later.
Tomoe's mother and Mitsuo are both 47 years old.
When they met, she was very nervous and asked: "Do you two have plans to get married?"
Not expecting this question, Mitsuo got nervous. He said the two of them have only been dating for a week, and did not dare to consider marriage.
Tomoe's mother then asked: "What? You two are still dating even though you have no plans to get married?"
Flustered, Mitsuo could only reply, "Is it okay [if we get married]?"
Wrote a letter of assurance to Tomoe's parents
To win the trust of Tomoe's parents, Mitsuo wrote them a letter of assurance which made a few promises, according to Sina.
One such promise was that Tomoe's parents would always be informed when they go out for dates so as to ensure her safety.
Mitsuo eventually won over Tomoe's parents.
Before they got hitched, Mitsuo's face would be censored or hidden with a pair of shades in Tomoe's public social media posts.
When the pair tied the knot in April this year, his face was finally revealed.
While they were dating, the two were long-distance as Tomoe lived in Osaka, which is five hours by train or eight hours by car from Oita.
Tomoe has since moved to Oita city and the two are currently on their honeymoon in Japan.
The couple frequently posts on their social media accounts about their relationship. Their TikTok account has over 300,000 followers.
To relive the good old days, Tomoe performs for Mitsuo in their bedroom.
He sways along with a glowing light stick.
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Top images by @_tomoe_0722/Twitter.