It's the Opposite of Online Dating, and It May Be Working

Japanese city of Miyazaki expanding its love-letter program after early success
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 21, 2022 11:30 AM CDT
It's the Opposite of Online Dating, and It May Be Working
Stock photo.   (Getty/StockFrame)

(Newser) – A Japanese city's decidedly low-tech venture into matchmaking appears to be working. Authorities in Miyazaki will expand their experiment involving handwritten love letters after numbers exceeded expectations, reports AFP. Those numbers are relatively small for now: About 450 people, mostly in their 20s and 30s, signed up for the program when it launched two years ago, but that's roughly double the anticipated figure. So far, 17 new couples have emerged from the pool.

"It takes longer [than online dating], and inspires you to imagine the person you're in communication with," says Rie Miyata, who leads the consulting firm commissioned by the city to run the program. The way it works, people can write to and receive up to five letters from someone recommended by the program's screeners, per the Guardian. No photos or personal information such as names or addresses accompanies the letters. If both parties sense chemistry, a meeting is arranged.

"It's less about how good your penmanship is and more the fact that you write every single character sincerely and with care, thinking deeply about the person you're writing to," says Miyata. "That's what makes letters so powerful." So why is a city so bent on getting singletons together? It's all about Japan's sinking birth rate, explains the Guardian. The number of babies born in the nation last year fell to an all-time low of about 811,000, and that trend has been percolating for years. (Read more love letters stories.)

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