Japanese sign up for DNA matchmaking as countryfaces demographic crisis.
The scene resembles a typical blind speed-datingevent: 13 women and 13 men, seated on either sideof a bamboo screen in an upmarket Tokyorestaurant, are chatting in pairs on a strictly timedthree-minute rotation.
But the doctor hovering on the fringes and the scientific documents held in the participant'shands, however, offer a hint that this is no ordinary dating event: for everyone attending hasundergone a DNA test in a bid to find their best romantic match.
Welcome to the world of DNA matchmaking. Forget hobbies, professions, ages or nose sizes: one critical new criteria for finding the perfect partner was recently added to Japan's fast-paced dating world, with the launch of a new service that promises to find love based ongenetic compatibility.
Created by the dating company Nozze., which operates 21 branches across Japan, DNAMatching works with scientists at a Tokyo laboratory in order to decode the science of attractionand find the perfect match for its clients.
The company staged its first "DNA Party" at a restaurant in Ginza earlier this month – attendedby 26 guests and resulting in four new couples – with more events planned across the country, including a special DNA Cruise in the autumn.
Its launch is timely: Japan is grappling with something of an epidemic of singles who areunable to find a partner, an issue intrinsically linked to the nation's famously low marriageand birth rates and doing little to help balance the rapidly aging demographics of Japanesesociety.