The Japanese government continues to wrestle with the country's falling birthrate, among the lowest in the industrialized world, and one area they're trying to focus on is the trend of people waiting longer to get married and start having children. Recently 52 single men and women gathered for a singles' party that was put on by our prefectural government as part of its "mariage encouragement initiative" that brings people together so they can meet and socialize. The program is called the Gunma Red String Project, evoking the image of the "red string of destiny," a Japanese belief that two people who are destined to fall in love are tied together with an invisible red string that connects their pinkies. The goal is simple: to help salarymen and women who are too busy to engage in normal dating to get out and meet people they might be compatible with, and hopefully help them fall in love. Since the Japanese already have a tradition of omiai, often thought of as "arranged marriage" but really more like a formal meeting between two single people to see if they think they'd be compatible, the idea of a party organized for singles to meet each other was probably less strange in practice than it seems at first. Let's hope Cupid Gunma-chan finds some targets!
Our prefectural mascot Gunma-chan is engaging in some match-making.