According to the Wall Street Journal, Konkatsu is a new rage in Japan. It means “marriage hunting,” but there seems to be a mismatch between men and women:
The Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, a Japanese professional baseball team, started offering "konkatsu seats" for a July game. The speed-dating plan is to have men and women sit next to each other during the game. Between innings, they will rotate seats and be seated next to someone else.
The trouble with the konkatsu movement is that women seem to be more eager about it than men are. While about 2,000 women rushed to secure the allocated 50 konkatsu seats on the first day of sales, it took several days to sell out the 50 male seats.
Experts say that in tough times, single women feel an urgency to get married for financial stability, while men tend to put off marriage until they feel they can afford it. The konkatsu buzz has coincided with companies' move to shed employees during the recession.
Yuriko Akamatsu, a 35-year-old office worker, has attended two matchmaking parties in the past six months. "I want to get married because I sometimes feel like quitting my job," said Ms. Akamatsu, who didn't find Mr. Right at either party. "Marriage is like permanent employment."
Since October, Imado Shrine in Tokyo has held a prayer service for single men and women seeking good luck in marriage. The service, followed by a tea party, costs 6,000 yen ($62). Hundreds of women apply for a limited number of seats each time, but the shrine's Web site says, "We're short of men."
It’s a strange country.
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“Deery” writes in a comment:
What, men aren't rushing towards marriage? Yet I'm sure if they had a "free sex night", the stands would have been full of men, and women would have been scarce. Just differing interests between the sexes in the sexual market place.
In the United States, it’s considered a social faux pas to openly admit to looking for marriage. The correct term to use is “relationship.” For example, at eHarmony, the most successful online dating site, the word “relationship” is frequently used in its marketing copy, but rarely is the m-word mentioned. A two-syllable word with a clear meaning has been replaced by a four-syllable word with an imprecise meaning.
But anyway, just because “marriage” is a word to be avoided among single Americans doesn’t mean the same restriction applies to Japanese culture.