“Why have Japanese young people stopped having sex? In New York City, where I live, meeting potential partners digitally is normal: one in five American relationships today begin online, as Fast Company contributor Dan Slater reports in his book Love in the Time of Algorithms.
Few uncoupled twentysomethings in New York haven’t at least tried a dating site, whether they’re searching for serious relationships or quick hookups.
“Please do not include or ask for any personal identifying information in your first message,” it reads, explaining that it is against policy for users to expose anything real about themselves right off the bat. Online dating in Japan has a shady history, which is part of the reason people are less comfortable with it than they are in the U. Japanese web users have traditionally preferred anonymity online, opting for pseudonyms or social gaming handles instead of real names, cartoon avatars instead of photographs.
Early on in the Japanese online dating scene you could never be confident the person you met on a dating site was real.
Nikukai, meaning “Meat Meeting,” is more innocent than the translation makes it sound: It’s an app designed to get groups of men and women together for Korean barbecue, which is popular in Japan.
Founded by Haruka Ito, a 28-year-old Keio University graduate, blogger, and author, the site is inspired by gokon, the Japanese tradition of group blind dates, where men and women who don’t know each other meet to socialize in hopes of eventually pairing off.
So I decide to try out Pairs, a dating application linked to Facebook that, along with Match Alarm, Niku Kai, and Yahoo Omiai, is one of the country’s most popular.
As with most Japanese dating apps, women can sign up for free, while men pay ¥2,380 (roughly ) per month.I decide to be up front with her about my intentions (journalistic, not romantic) and send a note explaining that I’m a writer from New York who’s interested in talking to her about her experiences.Soon my inbox bleeps with a message–not from her, but from the site, whose strict rules I have unwittingly violated.To understand Japanese dating sites, the first thing you need to realize is that many don’t seem like dating sites at all.Some of the biggest ones appeal to mainstream users by positioning themselves as more social than romantic.But when you ask around, no one cops to having used them.