Why do young Japanese with low desires want to fall in love now?

Why do young Japanese with low desires want to fall in love now?

The epidemic is disturbing and makes people anxious to find a partner.

The 32-year-old Tanaka Yuriko has recently become obsessed with dating.

When the TV shows how many cities have entered emergency situations due to the epidemic, and the government has repeatedly called on people to reduce unimportant and non-urgent outings, she is dating the blind date she has known since March in open spaces such as parks and badminton courts. .

Because of business trips all the year round, Tanaka has always been single, and after she turned 30, her female friends have even married one after another. After the outbreak began, her working hours were shortened to once or twice a week, and it was difficult to meet with others. Distressed, Tanaka decided to return to life and look for a partner seriously.

“(Conducting) marriage activities is my emergency. It is definitely not an’not important or not urgent’. I have to act on my own.” She told “Yomiuri Shimbun.”

In September last year, Tanaka joined the “Partner Agency,” a national marriage counseling agency, where she succeeded in meeting someone who was “interested in the topic she raised and was willing to listen.” Since March of this year, A has withdrawn from the blind date group and began to officially date the other party.

After several dates, Tanaka happily said: “I used to think that marriage and love are two different things, but now I understand that marriage and life also feel like love.”

Why do young Japanese with low desires want to fall in love now?

Picture of a Japanese couple dating: CFP

The new crown has been raging for more than a year, and there are not a few Japanese people like Tanaka who have begun to want to get married as soon as possible.

From May to June last year, a marriage and love survey conducted by the Cabinet Office of Japan showed that more than 30% of people in the 20 to 39 age group said that they were affected by the epidemic and their interest in marriage was increasing. In April this year, the number of registered members of IBJ, which has more than 2,700 branches across the country, exceeded 70,000 for the first time. The number of blind dates in April also set a record, reaching 43,604.

An epidemic broke the low desire life of many Japanese people, and they began to yearn for the other half.

People who want to get married

In 2020, the number of married people in Japan dropped by 12% compared to 2019, with only 525,400 people, and the marriage ratio per 1,000 people was 4.3, a record low since World War II.

However, unlike the continuously decreasing marriage rate, since the epidemic has become normal, people’s inner desire for love has further increased. In order to seize the time to fall in love and get married, many people choose “marriage.”

“Marriage” means “marriage activities”, that is, large-scale social gatherings and various activities for marriage. Since 2000, the number of marriage counseling offices (that is, marriage agencies) in Japan has exceeded 4,000. The marriage process is also very simple: after registering as a member, the matchmaking agency will hold sorority parties in various places, recommend different blind dates for members, and will also hold some publicity activities and exhibitions on a regular basis. Usually, people will get to know someone who has a good impression in a sorority meeting and meet in private for further development. Since the beginning of the epidemic last year, most marriage activities have become online communication.

Why do young Japanese with low desires want to fall in love now?

Picture: CFP

Ms. Yuki Yamashita, who lives in Kanagawa, is a member of the “Marriage” brigade. Last spring, she lost her full-time job due to the epidemic, her income fell sharply, and she was forced to stay at home. In March of this year, she found a part-time job and her life improved. After her income stabilized again, she quickly joined a dating agency, hoping to find a suitable person to get married as soon as possible.

Yamashita told the “Yomiuri Shimbun” that wanting to obtain financial and emotional stability was the main reason for her wanting to get married. She really couldn’t stand the long time alone at home: “When I saw someone for a long time At that time, I found myself unable to speak, which shocked me.” She also said that she “has no time to complain” and now has a stable job and just wants to get married and have children as soon as possible.

The sudden skyrocketing business of dating agencies also reflects people’s anxiety about wanting to get married.

In April this year, the number of new members of Fiore, a matchmaking agency based in West Japan, increased 3.6 times over the same period last year. Company President Ikuhiro Yoshisue told the Yomiuri Shimbun that the epidemic has changed people’s “marriage and life” methods: “In the past, people would carefully evaluate their blind date through multiple meetings. Now, even though there are fewer opportunities for dating and meeting, the Everyone has chosen faster when it comes to deciding whom to marry.”

New product in the epidemic era: fettered marriage

People’s strong desire for marriage is mainly due to insecurity in the epidemic era.

According to the labor force survey conducted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications of Japan, in 2020, catering and tourism industries will lay off a large number of employees due to the epidemic, and the number of part-time workers in Japan will decrease by 970,000. The decrease in income directly affects people’s lives. When joining a blind date agency, many people said that the single life is fun and free, but it would be terrifying if you contract the new crown and your income drops sharply. At this time, people “naturally want to live with someone who can support them.”

In May of last year, Japanese company Next Level conducted a survey on the “impact of the epidemic on people’s attitudes towards marriage” for unmarried men and women across the country. The results showed that 70% of the respondents said that their attitudes towards marriage were “becoming positive”. The main reasons include: “home and remote work make people feel lonely”, “anxiety about life in the new crown epidemic”, and “recognizing the importance of spending time with loved ones.”

In June of this year, a marriage and childbirth survey conducted by a Japanese institution STUDIO ALICE confirmed this “marriage consciousness.”

Among the 500 respondents with boyfriend and girlfriend friends, more than 70% expressed their intention to get married, and more than half expressed their intention to have children after marriage. A 33-year-old man said that the epidemic made him feel the importance of family more. Another 28-year-old woman believes that many companies have introduced remote work so that people can better balance work and parenting.

Why do young Japanese with low desires want to fall in love now?

Picture: CFP

This phenomenon of rising willingness to get married due to the epidemic also occurred during the March 11 earthquake in Japan ten years ago. At that time, people called it “earthquake marriage” or “fetter marriage”.

Miyuki Uekusa, a love counselor at Marryme dating agency, still remembers the grand occasion of marriage ten years ago.

At that time, Zhicao would receive many dating consultation calls, and some people even asked if they were already married, could they remarry with others. She said this was because the earthquake and tsunami disasters were broadcast every day on TV, and people were increasingly uncertain whether they could continue to live with their partners. Sometimes, when they hear the news that their partner has sacrificed to save the other half, they will start to wonder whether their partner is worth living, and whether it will save themselves.

Uekusa told Toyo Keizai that another feature of the consultation at the time was that not many people clearly expressed their wish to marry: “I guess it is because of the social atmosphere. Many people do not want to find a new partner through marriage, but hesitate. Do you want to marry someone who is currently dating or living together.”

Now, Marryme matchmaking agency has welcomed many women’s consultations, all of whom are eager to relieve their anxiety by getting married. In Zhicao’s view, this kind of “fetter marriage” triggered by disasters is actually effective, because in this period of social instability, both parties have clearer standards and goals for themselves, and couples will be united after marriage. Through the crisis.

Why do young Japanese with low desires want to fall in love now?

Sparsely populated streets in Japan. Photo: CFP

An executive of the Tameny matchmaking agency told the Yomiuri Shimbun that people’s standards for blind dates are becoming more personal: in addition to common factors such as annual income, personality, and appearance, whether to wear a mask during dating, how often to disinfect and wash hands, etc. The question has also been included in the reference standard.

Yoshihiro Kawana, a professor of love psychology at Risho University, also said that under the epidemic, the current online blind date is actually more conducive to people establishing long-term stable and good relationships: “In face-to-face dating, people largely rely on their appearance and economic “Enjoy love” with social status. The Internet emphasizes communication more than face-to-face dating, and you can discover the spiritual charm of the other person.”

The new blind date era: AI matching and dating counseling

People’s willingness to go on blind dates, get married, and even have children has increased, giving the Japanese government, which is suffering from an aging population, hope.

In 2015, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare’s National Survey on Marriage and Childbirth revealed that the number one reason why Japanese people between the ages of 25 and 34 do not marry is that they cannot find a suitable partner. Therefore, the national and local governments have been trying to find a marriage partner with a higher matching rate for young people for many years, and the recent online blind date model has created an opportunity to promote AI blind date.

In December 2020, the Japanese government announced that it had allocated 2 billion yen from the annual budget to continue to support local governments in using AI in marriage. In the government’s view, AI can better assess the match between two people and identify “People who are interested” can be selected, so as to achieve the purpose of increasing the number of marriages and ensuring the birth rate.

Currently, more than 25 prefectures and local governments in Japan have introduced AI marriage services. Among them, Saitama Prefecture has received a certain effect: the prefecture spent about 15 million yen in 2018 to develop an AI system. Among the 38 couples who married in 2019, 21 were matched by AI. In Akita Prefecture, which introduced the service last year, the proportion of couples that was eventually promoted has doubled.

Why do young Japanese with low desires want to fall in love now?

Picture: CFP

“Toyo Economics” pointed out that in the past, people’s social spheres were small, and relatives, colleagues and neighbors could all act as matchmakers, and it was possible to simply judge whether the two matched. However, the social environment has undergone tremendous changes, and AI big data can help people find their ideals on a larger scale. The famous Japanese actor Junichi Ishida also said that if a person has a clear purpose for marriage, he can rely on AI. “Love is a probability, and artificial intelligence is indeed more efficient than humans in some aspects.”

Of course, high probability does not mean happiness.

In an interview with The Asahi Shimbun, AI researcher Kawa Tim Ai said that AI is neither a god nor a magic box: “For AI, the question it has to answer is’Is this couple suitable for marriage?’ It’s not “Is this couple happy?”

Because AI is not a panacea, many local governments and dating agencies have chosen human intervention. In Ehime Prefecture, the local government has added 270 “volunteer promoters” to join the marriage. They are mainly responsible for creating an atmosphere and continue to follow up during the two weeks to two months of promoting new couples. In private dating agencies, most large companies have adopted a combination of AI and matchmakers, that is, AI screens and matchmakers help further reference.

30-year-old Kondo Sachiko likes this online blind date mode very much.

At the end of last year, Kondo started to use the Naco-Do dating software developed by Iromono. When the system helped her narrow down her target range, Kondo would connect to his matchmaker network to discuss: “Although sometimes I can’t find what I want. People have thought of giving up, but my matchmaker always encourages me, and I am also more active on blind dates.” She also said that online blind dates are like Zoom remote meetings, which can also reduce infection. resist.

Why do young Japanese with low desires want to fall in love now?

A couple is dating on the streets of Japan. Picture: AFP

In addition, in order to meet people’s “love needs”, some dating agencies have launched love teaching.

The proprietor of the Kansai Bride Eterna matchmaking agency Nakato Zi said that they have launched an online dating learning course since last year, which includes the basic knowledge of blind dates, personal appearance and thinking improvement. Later, Nakato Zi opened the online dating school Cinderella Academy to help young people who have never been in a relationship.

Nakata told Yahoo News that many people have unsuccessful experiences in other companies, so they incorporate love communication, brain science (thinking), marriage marketing, luck methods and success philosophy to help people fall in love. Most customers will be able to find an object in about six months to a year.

In the face of people’s increasingly strong desire to love and marry under the epidemic, Nakato Zi believes that now is “a good time to learn about love” and hopes that people can “reap the joy of love in an unsound life.”

(In this article, Yuriko Tanaka, Yukiko Yamashita, and Yukiko Kondo are pseudonyms. Original title: “Low Desire Japanese Changed by the Epidemic: Want to Fall in Love, AI Blind Dates, and Get Married in Fetters”)

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