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Archive for May 2009

On Wednesday, A Shibuya-based dot-com venture CyberAgent launched a free mobile SNS, named “Otokonoko Bokujo (a.k.a. Otoboku)” meaning boys pasture, targeting females in konkatsu (marriage-hunt). “Boys pasture” was setup to promote communication among women and to help them through the tough road of konkatsu.

This website “Boys pasture” is stirring up controversy among the internet bloggers and the media. The site has been highly criticized for allowing females to treat males as livestock. The website is essentially a cattle fair for eligible bachelors.  Much of the criticism mention it is immoral to represent males by animal icons of cows, horses and lambs.

CyberAgent has defended “Boys pasture” explaining that the site title was named after the recent boom for  grass-eating boys. They report that none of their male employees felt the site title was inapropriate,  the service supervisor judged it was cleared for launch. The company is now taking account of renaming the title.

So what is this “Boys pasture” about?

This konkatsu site allows female users to upload profiles of their male friends. Then the female members can evaluate the profiles of other female users’ male friends as if they are cattles or horses.  This is how it works:

  1. a female user signs up for an account of the service
  2. she will upload portraits and profiles of her male friends to her own “virtual pasture” set up on the site The registered men appear as horses, cows and sheeps in the virtual “farm”
  3. she can categorize each of her male friends by his characterestics like flirty / tough, and carnivorous / herbivorous depending on how aggressively he approaches to a female and each of the male friends is represented by an animal icon such as a horse or cow (which may make you think that males are being treated as livestock bred by females
  4. when a female user makes connections with her female friends on the site, they will be allowed to browse portraits and profiles of eachother’s male friends

The website is also under attack for its privacy protection issues. Because the portraits and the profiles of a female user’s male friends are uploaded and browsed by female users, without the males approval.

I’m wondering if I should express how I personally feel about this site since I have so much to say about it….  sigh…

otoboku

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The media is going crazy about Konkatsu since the TV show “Konkatsu” has aired. As you can see from introduction of many konkatsu related products that I have introduced in this blog, Konkatsu is really becoming the hot topic of Japanese pop culture these days.

In my opinion, this is all planned and conspired by government as countermeasures against Japan’s decreasing birth rate. The government must have conspired to create konkatsu frenziness, making konkatsu more widely acceptable, more popular and trendy activity for the Japanese youth to get involved. That’s what I think. The only way to fight against nearing extinction of Japanese race is to encourage the Japanese youth to meet eachother, get married, mate, and have children. The only way the Japanese youth would be encouraged to do so, is to have the media tell them “EVERYONE is doing it, you have to get started too!” Yes, Japanese people love anything if  “everyone is doing it”

So how is the media doing? How convinced are Japanese youth of konkatsu so far?

Here is a result of the poll taken by SUNMARIE CORPORATION, marriage consultation service company. About 200 Japanese youths participated in the poll during April 2009.

konkatsu poll

I was surprised to see the above result of the poll. Men are much more likely to welcome konkatsu. Hmmm it really shows that women, somehow, still want to win their happiness without hunting for marriage. They want to be pursued by men with passion and romance. But for men, konkatsu is an efficient way to meet the candidates for future wife.

Another Konkatsu-related product in the market!

This time, it is a proposal cake (not a wedding cake) designed in collaboration by bridal jewery company I-Primo and boulangerie Marquise in Ginza. This is their second version of the proposal cake but this time, it was designed with a concept of Konkatsu, marriage hunt activities. In order to really understand the humor of the cake, you have to first understand the origin of the word Konkatsu.

The word Konkatsu was developed based on the idea that… “Marriage is something to be pursued with strategy and planning. Marriage hunting should be executed in a similar manner as job hunting. You have to prepare your resume, wear the right suits that makes you look professional and sophisticate, present your best self through the interview, follow up the interview with polite emails and phone calls, and when you get the offer, review the contract and negotiate for your true worth!

This cake, named “Konkatsu offer-letter proposal cake” is exactly the official job offer one recieves after successful Konkatsu activity. It is a cake that comes with a message cared, the offer letter which says “I am pleased to offer you employment with _____ as a future wife. Please understand your refusal to accept the offer would not be accepted by any means.” The cake also has a space to hold an engagement ring under the outer chocolate decoration. They have 2 designs of the cake, one for a proposal from man to woman, and another version for a proposal from a woman to a man.

The cake will be on sale from June 1st (reservation to be accepted from May 18th) and will cost 5000JPY ($50 USD)

Does this cake make fun of the konkatsu activity? Or are they seriously thinking women would be happy to receive a offer letter from their boyfriend? This is really scary to find out… I mean… how romantic it must be to propose to your partner with a job offer! LoL But I was not shocked, I have already heard a shocking story where a college senior student proposed his girlfriend by asking “would you accept a job offer to work for me?”  during the time of job-hunting…. how romantic Japanese men are!

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Just in news! May 13 11:49am

Lingerie company Triumph just introduced a unique bra called “Konkatsu bra” to the public. The Konkatsu bra was designed as encouragement for all the women who are involved in Konkatsu activity, hoping someday to be happily wed.

Triumph was inspired by the recent “konkatsu” frenziness to design the konkatsu bra. “I am currently involved in konkatsu activities,” written on the white bra, which has design that resembles a wedding dress, and features a marriage count down clock  attached on the lower part of the bra. The count down clock starts from “start of konkatsu” and ends deadline time for “happily married”. (BTW old fashioned Japanese typically consider deadline to be the age of 24 )  When an engagement ring is inserted between the cups, the count down stops and melody of wedding march song will start to celebrate the engagement! The bra also has pockets to hold a pen and a stamp (In Japan, signature is not enough to get married, a personal stamp is also needed) everything you need to sign the marriage registration. The matching panty can also function as an apron and has removable panhandler so you can start cooking right away to impress your hubby!

The only dissapointing thing is… it’s not going to be available in stores! It’s not for sale!!

Ok people… it’s getting a bit crazy here… or is it just me? Should I be calling Triumph begging them to commercialize this product?

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insert the ring when you finally get married!

insert the ring when you finally get married!

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Finally, a story about a grass-eating boy’s  konkatsu experience has become a TV show in Japan. A new TV show called Konkatsu! (婚カツ!) started airing since April 20th. It’s on Fuji TV (channel 8 in Tokyo) on Monday from 21:00.

The plot is something like this: Kuniyuki Amamiya is the unemployed son of a tonkatsu restaurant owner (get it? they are playing with the word Konkatsu and tonkatsu (deep fried pork) LoL ). Kuniyuki is a typical “grass-eating boy” and  is not particularly interested in dating or getting married.  Seeking a way to escape his family responsibility to take over his father’s restaurant business, he seeks for a job. He eventually finds a job that requires a married person (a local government officer responsible for countermeasures to the falling birthrate, how ironic), so he lies by saying that he has plans to marry, and he is forced to keep up the charade by starting a konkatsu experience. His unmotivated pursuit for Harun Hida,  a part-time worker from the restaurant is the key of this romantic comedy, though the series also focuses on family and friendship through Kuniyuki’s interactions with the other characters.

Essentially, the drama is simply about the awakening of grass-eating boy to the beauty of love and marriage. But it also shows all the konkatsu activities that Japanese people currently practice. Might be interesting if you have been reading my blog! But don’t expect it to be too good, I’ve watched it and…. well… I much prefer to watch sex and the city lol

More information on Fuji TV website:http://wwwz.fujitv.co.jp/kon-katsu/index.html

konkatsu


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From the Western perspective, what goes on in the Japanese dating scene is really different and interesting! In this shy nation of Japan, meeting new people is almost institutionalized, dating and romance is littered with conventions that protect people from social awkwardness. What are dating conventions and rules in Japan? How do the shy Japanese people meet new people, develop affection, and express their passion? As I research and answer these question, I will write a real time report of what's going on in the Tokyo dating scene, or the "Tokyo Meet Market" here in this blog. I hope you enjoy my blog and a trip around Tokyo Meet Market with me!

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