If your dream is to get your very own officer and gentleman, all you have to do is wait for the matchmaking parties organized by a group that seeks to bring together members of the Self-Defense Force with women who are looking to marry a uniformed man. And they come highly recommended by Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera who says they are “well-trained at cleaning, washing, and cooking.”
The SDF “Talking Festival” is a social gathering organized by a navy-sponsored voluntary group. They have been doing this for 15 years, and usually hold the parties three times a year. According to the group, 61 couples have already found everlasting love through these events. While the previous years have seen just a handful of women interested in making a match with members of the SDF, the 2011 disasters made the military men more appealing in the eyes of the public, as they led recovery and relief operations.
They now receive around 300 “applicants” who want to attend, and a July 13 event brought in a record 1,117 women who raised their hands for the 80 spots available for the Talking Festival. But since the spots seemed to be “in demand”, the sponsors extended the invite to 131 women. The rising number of women who want to date and even marry SDF men is a testament to the much improved profile of the Japanese military. However, it is also an indication that the SDF remains a male-dominated entity, with women just making up 5.5% of the 225,000 personnel.
The event started off with both sets getting to know each other and wearing numbered badges to better remember their choices. After various activities, the participants then wrote down the number of the person they want to get to know better. The organizers then go through all the cards and find matches. This year yielded 40 matches initially, with an additional 11 discovered during the second round. Now, the organizers just have to wait and see if this batch will yield any couples who will have their ‘happily ever after.’
[ via Wall Street Journal ]
Comments Off on JDP Startup Corner: Pros & Cons of Working with a Partner in Japan