Jun 6th 2020SUZUKA, MIE PREFECTUREHE HAD ALWAYS imagined he would get married someday. Then covid-19 hit. Yuto (not his real name), a 31-year-old ho
HE HAD ALWAYS imagined he would get married someday. Then covid-19 hit. Yuto (not his real name), a 31-year-old hotel employee from the southern city of Kumamoto, found himself confined to his home, alone. He decided to accelerate his wedding plans, and signed up for an online match-making service to find the love of his life—fast.
Yuto is not alone. Since the pandemic broke out, more Japanese singles have been on the hunt for spouses. Sunmarie, a match-making agency, reported a 30% rise in inquiries in April compared with the year before. Both Sunmarie and O-net, a rival agency, have tried to adapt to the times, offering an online rendez-vous service since early April, when the government began curbing gatherings in much of the country. LMO, another firm, offers drive-through meetings, in which singletons can introduce themselves from their cars, in the empty car parks of wedding halls.
Cooped up in their homes alone for an extended period, singles are getting lonely—hence the surge in business for match-makers, explains Amano Kanako of NLI Research Institute, a think-tank. With covid-19 dominating the news, lonely hearts are also increasingly anxious about the future: they want a partner with whom to face the unknown. “Those who vaguely thought about getting married one day are realising that the time is now,” says Kobayashi Jun of Seikei…