A woman angry over being divorced by her virtual husband in an online game has been charged with murdering his digital persona.
The 43-year-old Japanese piano teacher logged on using his password and erased the "avatar" the man had spent a year building up in the interactive game 'Maple Story'.
"I was suddenly divorced, without a word of warning. That made me so angry," she told police in Sapporo.
She was charged with illegal access onto a computer and manipulating electronic data.
If convicted, she could face a prison term of up to five years or a fine.
Players in 'Maple Story' raise and manipulate digital images called "avatars" that represent themselves, while engaging in relationships, social activities and fighting against monsters and other obstacles.
The woman used login information she got from the 33-year-old office worker when their characters were happily married, and killed the character. The man complained to police when he discovered that his beloved online avatar was dead.
The woman was arrested and taken across the country, travelling 620 miles from her home in southern Miyazaki to be detained in Sappporo, where the man lives.
In recent years, virtual lives have had consequences in the real world. In August, a woman was charged in the US with plotting the real-life abduction of a boyfriend she met through the virtual world 'Second Life'.
In Tokyo, police arrested a 16-year-old boy on charges of swindling virtual currency worth €163,330 in an interactive role playing game by manipulating another player's portfolio using a stolen ID and password.