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Singles seek divine intervention in looking for a lifetime partner

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One recent Sunday, a Shinto-style “gokon" (group dating) party was held at Sakura Jingu in Setagaya, Tokyo. Says Mayumi Mizuno of party planner Rush Ltd: “We organize 'konkatsu' (activities for finding a suitable marriage partner) events at Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines – places that have spiritual power. Our wish is for individuals to enjoy new encounters with a pure heart on grounds considered sacred.”

On this day, nine men and 10 women in their 20s, 30s and 40s participated in the event. After self-introductions in front of the shrine altar, all were "purified" according to Shinto rites and the group proceeded to a wine party in the shrine office.

Shinto shrine, "gokon" and wine? Sounds like an odd combination, but the proposal came from Sakura Jingu. Grand Priest Masanori Yoshimura comments, “Matchmaking parties are common but many find it difficult to communicate with complete strangers. A common interest would help the process of 'en-musubi' (romantic bonds).” I happen to be a wine lover, and thought a wine party would be a good idea.”

The event began in silence, but the wine relaxed the participants and in no time they were talking about hobbies as they switched seats to converse with each other. The party ended after two hours.

One 35-year-old woman said, “I was a bit worried at first … but decided it was safe enough to go. I was impressed by the grand priest’s knowledge about wine. I had fun.”

A male participant in his mid 30s had been looking forward to the purification ritual, and felt sure his luck was going to improve.

While the participants’ feedback on the party was positive, no one seemed to have found a potential partner from the shrine “gokon” this time. According to Mizuno, matchmaking opportunities can be provided, but finding true romance is ultimately up to the individual’s effort.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

21 Comments
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well, good luck with all that.

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I suggest they pray to St. Jude. Patron Saint of lost causes.

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Really? Dating has come to THIS?

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no...JAPANESE dating has come to this. In less dysfunctional countries people are perfectly capable of finding dates and/or mates

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I suggest they pray to St. Jude. Patron Saint of lost causes.

Be careful with your suggestions. Imagine another thing like the Japanese version of valentines. Some jokers would find it as an opportunity to make money.

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In America people usually go to church to meet someone, I don't think this is much different. I wish them good luck and ganbatte. Hope it works for them!

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In America people usually go to church to meet someone, I don't think this is much different. I wish them good luck and ganbatte. Hope it works for them!

Really?! Usually?! You arent actually suggesting the social structure of Japan and USA is the same are you?

The bottom line is most people in Japan are immature when it comes to interpersonal skills. Of course everyone is afraid of rejection/failure, but many Japanese seem deathly afraid of it and will avoid/deny it to great lengths.

A by-product of shame culture perhaps?

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medievaltimes- Really? You're actually going to insult perfectly normal people because they're making an attempt to find love? So....because they're trying to meet someone at an event held at a temple they are somehow "immature when it comes to interpersonal skills". Really? Please explain this interesting theory further.

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fugetaboutit, yer better off single!

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Isn't God a single Dad? Praying to him might not be best choice.

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Poor guys! What many local women want is they work for them. I wish they find the divine and kind women but in this country I feel that there is low probability.

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flatearther: "In America people usually go to church to meet someone, I don't think this is much different. I wish them good luck and ganbatte. Hope it works for them!"

Dude, people go to church functions to meet other people who share the same interests; people who go to this 'gokon' function are paying people to set them up in an unusual setting. They're not at all relatable.

'So....because they're trying to meet someone at an event held at a temple they are somehow "immature when it comes to interpersonal skills"'

No, it's not because they are meeting someone at a shrine, it's because they are paying a company to find them a date, and even then the companies just throw a mass of people together. There are such services on a minor scale in other countries, and those people are equally as 'immature', though I daresay you're not going to find many people who will pay money to get set up with other non-Christians in a church (nor would the church let them hang out there, drink wine, and hook up).

Any more ideas on how they are similar?

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Sorry, meant to add something to the end of my statement:

"Dude, people go to church functions to meet other people who share the same interest (which is to say, people who do so and also believe in god)"

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The epitome of Japanese interpersonal skills.

I am too spineless, or too socially inept to perform my biological imperative.

Here is an authority figure who states he will arrange a way in which a group ceremony will arise, at which all people present are in a similar state of wanting.

Lo, I will throw money at said authority figure, stumble upon an equally desperate mate, throw money at an equally soulless wedding ceremony and then count down the days of stuttering awkwardness until we die, childless and unmissed.

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medievaltimes- Really? You're actually going to insult perfectly normal people because they're making an attempt to find love? So....because they're trying to meet someone at an event held at a temple they are somehow "immature when it comes to interpersonal skills". Really? Please explain this interesting theory further.

No problem. Id be happy to.

First, Im not insulting anybody.

They are immature because of the social structure of the society they grow up in. Japan puts a premium on keeping people dependent on others, which seems to result in immaturity. The word in Japanese is "amae". You can see "amae" at work on a variety of levels in Japan.

Japanese arent encouraged to be individuals or think independently. Most everything is based around groupism.

Interpersonal skills is not a strong point for Japan.

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In less dysfunctional countries people are perfectly capable of finding dates and/or mates

Absolutely!! That's why you won't find anything even remotely similar to this in any other country, and why the term 'speed dating' will never find its way into the English language.

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what with all the Japan bashing here?

Japan has its idiosyncrasies, but slamming the culture wholesale as immature because a market share would like to use an introduction service to take some of the difficulty and mystery out of hooking up? Sounds like not so bad an idea to me, I met my wife on a bulletin board, sure it was guzen but she turned out nicer than the ones that I picked up at the bar, park, supermarket, 7-11...

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About zurcronium's comment.

That is funny. But, how do you know God is a man?

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This story is another sad reflection of life in Japan - or rather, socail collapse in Japan. Its so sad that people are so socially dysfunctional that they have to resort to this nonsense in order to find a partner in life. Whatever happened to the old Omiae system? Cliffy God is not man. But He most definately is male.

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what the difference with what they did, and some matchmaking compagny that exist everywhere else ? Or some dude who go to Russia for exemple to get himself a wife ? stop bashing japan all the time.

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jmarc, i don't think the practice is mocked at. Individuals who are seeking partners would benefit greatly if there was more socilising among the people. In many countries, there are many opportuniites such as parties and other gatherings where people find their partners. Church and temple gatherings also offer opportunities. You have the some of these here in Japan too. But then, people do not make an effort to mix around too much. Omatsuri, hanayami are all good, but then I find that everyone is to themselves, or with their group. Just yeaterday, I was at a neghborhood omatsuri with friends.My friends were all Japanese. A young guy serving Yakisoba saw me and started saying "You know we can do it" and I was shocked and started laughing, people around the stall and my friends were all laughing. That young guy was so natural and quick-witted. Our group widened when we were all laughing together and we invited the guy to join our group. This is something very natural and fun. An opportunity to get to know people. It is much easier than on-line and speed dating, I think.

There are many who have success in the on-line and speed dating but it could be dangerous, like in the other news item where the mother was killed and the daughter was abducted.

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