Japan: Surgical Mask During Speed Dating Sessions
In Japan, looks are not part of the dating service. Looks do not count in this particular dating. For at least, that's what one Japanese dating service is trying to prove. The dating service just require the participants to wear surgical masks in speed dating sessions.
Kei Matsumara, head of Tokyo dating service Deaf Anniversary said that in order to achieve marriage it is important to provide chances to know a partner's personality and values in early stages.
She expressed that their organization opted to have this "surgical masks as an essential tool' for it.
It is a common sight in Japan that most of the people use white surgical covering on their faces. Usually, people do it to prevent from contagious diseases, keep out of pollen, to avoid pollution and sometimes just to keep their faces warm. There are those women who opt to wear mask during the day so that their makeup won't worn out or mess up.
Yasumasu Kisi, 28 year-old, related that since he was not judged through his appearance, he think that he was able to be more outgoing with women. He stated this at a weekend speed dating event with participants consist of 18 women and 19 men.
These dating services are booming in Japan, which suits for young people who are shy from tying the knot. According to the Health Ministry Survey, the marriage rate has gone done by 50 percent over the last 40 years, from 10.1 per thousand in 1975 to 5.1 thousand in 2014.
In the digital era, young people tend to grow with face-to-face encounters daunting in ultra-polite Japan, while people work in long hours, it adds another hurdle.
Thus, these make konkatsu - active "marriage seeking activity" as the option oftentimes.
Chiharu Tsukahara, a 28-year-old office worker, shared that she was able to find out their inner selves and not just them through their looks.
"In this event, personality matters. I quite liked that," she added as she prepared to leave with Kishi and two friends for another date. This time, masks were optional.
In particular, wearing surgical masks for cosmetic and comfort purposes has become so popular among young people in Japan over the past few years that the media has begun labeling it as a "fashion trend."