Dating is hard, and in Japan, some young people hate it so much that they are giving up on it entirely. Yet, still, marriage is often the optimum goal for many young people. So what’s a person to do when they don’t want to date, but still want to get married?
Why, try a dating service, of course. There are tons of services in Japan where you can meet people of like interest, people with the right level of otaku fanaticism, or even people with the right income. But even with all of those, you never really know if you’re going to be compatible with the people you’re matched with; after all, matchmaking based on a wish list is a flimsy science at best. That’s why, to strive for something a little more certain, a popular matchmaking company is offering a new service that matches people based on DNA.
Nozze, a matchmaking service with 25 years of experience, just started a DNA Matching Course in January this year, and it’s been steadily growing in popularity since, with hundreds of people applying every month. In fact, the company just held its first ever DNA Matching Party in Tokyo’s Ginza neighborhood last month, to try to match 26 men and women.
To join the service, applicants must pay 32,400 yen, plus 54,000 yen for DNA testing. The DNA is extracted from saliva, and scientists specifically examine the HLA gene complex for matches, or rather, differences, among participants. HLA genes, which, broadly speaking, have to do with the immune system, have about 16,000 variations, which can apparently make up key differences in perceived attractiveness among humans.
Although some find the science behind genetic matchmaking dubious, the principle theory is that men and women naturally prefer partners with more variations in their DNA, so as to increase the likelihood of viable offspring. According to the Takanawa Clinic of the Shinagawa Medical Lab, which handles the DNA testing for Nozze, the more differences two people have between their HLA genes, the more attractive men seem to women, and the higher the chance of pregnancy between them.
Nozze uses the genetic information provided by Shinagawa Medical Lab to give a numerical value to a couple’s compatibility; for example, a couple is 100 percent compatible if 0 percent of their HLA alleles match. In this way, the company offers an alternative criteria to find a suitable partner, rather than factors like profession, income, or looks.
At Nozze’s first DNA Matching Party last month, 26 men and women first met from behind a bamboo screen to avoid any preconceptions based on looks. They went through a typical speed dating process, where the men and women conversed for three minutes, until a bell rang and the men moved over one seat. Once they had completed one round, the screen was raised, and they did the process again while talking face to face. Afterwards, they could choose up to three partners that they liked.
Thanks to this system, four couples formed up, and according to an organizer of the party, all of them had DNA compatibility ratings of over 80 percent. One couple, a 41-year-old man and a 32-year-old woman, had a 98 percent compatibility rating. When interviewed by Livedoor News, the woman said, “Since I knew it was a good match, I found it easy to talk to him”, while the man said it helped a little bit to know how genetically compatible they were. Apparently, they hit it off immediately, as after the event they decided to stroll around Ginza together.
Globally speaking, this isn’t really a new service, as companies in other countries have already been offering genetic matchmaking for several years, but in Japan, it appears to be a first, and an exciting development for Japanese singles who are ready to mingle. For those who are too shy to go out and meet people the traditional way or too fed up with meeting people online, or who just can’t wait to meet “The One”, this could be a quick way to find true love, even if it’s designed by biology, and not by fate.
Source: Livedoor News via My Game News Flash
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