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Dating apps are boring now, Japanese city is moving onto old-fashioned love letters for matchmaking

The handwritten love letters have attracted so many young residents that the organisers are planning to expand the program to people living farther away.

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New Delhi: Tired of swiping right and left on your dating apps? Old-fashioned love letters are making way to cut off your boredom. One Japanese city has come up with an unusual matchmaking scheme that is surprising everyone. In southern Japan’s Miyazaki, singles are being encouraged to find their soulmates by writing letters as a part of municipal efforts to increase their low birth rate.

The handwritten love letters have attracted so many young residents that the organisers are planning to expand the program to people living farther away.

In contrast to online dating, “it takes longer, and inspires you to imagine the person you’re in communication with,” said Rie Miyata, head of a local consulting firm commissioned to run the scheme.

“It’s less about how good your penmanship is,” she told AFP, “and more the fact that you write every single character sincerely and with care, thinking deeply about the person you’re writing to.”

“That’s what makes letters so powerful,” she said.

The project began in 2020 when 450 people signed up which was more than double the initial estimate of authorities with 70% in their 20s and 30s.

Love letter

Applications are reviewed by Miyata’s team and are paired with a potential partner as per their interests such as favourite films, books, and sports.

Unlike dating apps, the only this revealed to people searching for soulmates are identifying details such as full name, job, and address and the most interesting part is that no profile pictures are displayed.

“Looks are often a decisive factor” when searching for a partner, “but in letters, you are judged by your personality,” Miyata said.

First, letters are sent to the organisers who give a quick read to make sure that the letter contains no obscenities or insults before sending it to the potential partner.

To date, 32 pairs have been set up for the face-to-face meeting, and 17 couples have started their romantic relationship. One of the participants stated that the idea had brought back fond memories.

Love letter

“As a kid, I used to write letters to the girl I had a crush on,” the man, who wished to remain anonymous, told AFP.

“I like how old-fashioned letters are. That made me want to join the programme.”

Although the city has picked up an original approach it is not usual for the local government to fund matchmaking programs in Japan, having the world’s oldest population and one of the lowest fertility rates.

In 2021, the number of babies born had hit the lowest record with 811,604 babies born, and women are now expected to have an average of 1.3 children in their lifetime, much below the rate needed to maintain a population.

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