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Do you remember that I once went to match making party?

Actually my relationship with “my perfect match” didn’t end that night so let me write about this. We never met again, but he tried and tried and tried to pursue me and pretty much did everything in his power (using cellphone) to convince me to marry him, or at least have a drink with him.

I must admit it was flattering at first, to be told how surprised he was to have met his perfect match in a match making party(what a coincidence, he kept saying) and that he had never expected such fortune. I would have even gone for a full dinner + drink date with him at that point, if it wasn’t for the wrap up of my busy analysis project. I really would have, he was nice, decent guy at least from what I remember that night, and his sms wooing were harmless, if not flattering.

After 3 weeks of meetings, report makings and excel databases, his emails turned into something more than what it originally was. It seemed as if his passion for the idea of getting married (note: not the passion for me) has gotten out of control in my absense, and his sms started get more and more in tense, in terms of volume and content. He was so getting anxious to get married, he couldn’t wait till he seems me again.

“What kind of a family do you like to have?” “What kind of a man do you like to marry? I will try to be that man, I will get stronger for you” … isn’t it getting bit intense to hear these from a guy you just met once? But I realized this has to end when he googled me and found me on the company website and my university website and commented on sms “You work so hard, I saw your success in the company and in the university,  you must be so smart with great genes”

After a month or 2, it was all about the sms chase. I became the Queen of avoidance, and ignored his passionate sms (about the idea of marriage, not me) and slowly he became quieter with sms. And it was his very last sms that really impressed me, after all the sms that had tired me, freaked me, and pushed me away from him.

In his very last sms, he asked that we meet again, so I could give him a feed back on what he did well, what he did wrong, and how he could do better next time he goes to the match making party. Well, he doesn’t learn the lesson that may be this whole match making thing isn’t for someone like him, but he is surely ready to learn te lesson from his failure and grow to be the konkatsu-professional.

What did I learn from this experience? … To be desired for sex, is one thing. It happens, right? Lust at first sight. He doesn’t know you, but he knows he wants you. He wants to kiss you and take you in his arms, even though he doesn’t know you. I welcome that, eventhough I find it annoying if the guy is not my type. But to be desired for marriage, without the guy knowing me… this is freaky. This is completely different story. And although this match making party, my konkatsu activity was a success for having him desire me for marriage so much (hell yeah, I could have been married by the time I’m writing this now) I really learned the sadness of idea of marriage without love… and lust.

Konkatsu is an abbreviation of kekkon(marriage) and katsudo(activity), which literally means “marriage hunting.”

The word Konkatsu was coined by a sociologist, Masahiro Yamada, and a journalist, Toko Shirakawa, in 2007. The book Konkatsu no jidai (The era of marriage-hunting), written by Yamada and Shirakawa was published in the early 2008. According to their research and analysis, Japanese singles can’t just sit around and wait for their “one” to appear anymore. They have to “hunt” for their partners instead.

Times has changed. It’s become harder for young people to get married in the last 20 years. 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!

Yamada and Shirakawa say that there are 2 main reasons for the situation.

  1. Dating has become much easier than before. That means one can have a relationship with someone without really thinking about marriage. So, if the relationship doesn’t work out, they are free to break up with no responsibility.
  2. Working situations have changed. More and more young men are having a hard time getting a regular job these days. While some women are pursuing career paths and making their own living, a lot of other women still tend to rely on their husband’s salary. So, for example, a man may want his wife to work full-time to contribute to the family income while his future-wife may want to be a full-time homemaker, and vice versa.

Yamada and Shirakawa say that young people need to be more conscious about such changes and make an effort at hunt for marriage if they want to get married.

And how do you hunt for marriage? You make an effort to meet an appropriate, eligible bachelor and bachelorett. In another words, “Welcome to Tokyo Meet Market!” They can ask their friends to set up singles’ parties, or they can also try using matchmaking services or dating websites. They may wonder why it’s so hard to get married, but socializing with more people and trying to become more attractive are surely useful first steps in the process.

This word konkatsu became a trendy word through 2008, encouraging single men and women in the 20’s to engage in rigorous search for their life partners. Gokon, previously seens as just a drinking party of youngsters, had received a new clean image as a meeting of men and women seeking a better future. In the end, the invention and the spread of the showed the acceptance of the idea to hunt for marriage, and magnified the phenomenon to a national scale.

The era of marriage-hunting

1/4 Japanese youth cannot get married? Now we are in a era where we must hunt for job and hunt for marriage!

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What is Tokyo Meet Market?

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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