(written by: Willy Yanto Wijaya)
This is a brief story of one Japanese friend. He went to an all-boys high school. Then he continued his study in the Department of Mechanical Engineering in Tokyo Institute of Technology where girls composed of less than 10% population. Competition was fierce, and he was rejected numerous times. After finished undergraduate, he took master course at the same department. Obtaining the master degree then he started working in a heavy industry. Again, you don’t find many girls in such a company. But he was a ganbatte-type of a guy in seeking life partner. He joined a goukon (partner-matching party) many times every month, treating handsomely the girls he liked, spending more than 50,000 yen/ month just for goukon (luckily his company is a big heavy industry company with a high salary). And eventually he succeeded in finding a girlfriend.
This is just a sample, but the reality in Japan; there are so many segregated clusters of same gender. The high school mentioned above is just one example. Even in the case of university which is mixed-gender, the proportion is often very unbalanced. It is a common fact to see that majors such as linguistics, biology or pharmacy are dominated by girls; while majors such as mechanics and many engineering subjects are male-dominant. Therefore, there is “interaction potential” between/among these clusters, and each side is also eager to meet and interact one another.. but the problem is that there are not sufficient interaction mediums.
Thus it is no wonder, as reported by The Economist, that in Tokyo almost 35% of Japanese women in the early 30s remain unmarried. This is an astonishing figure, and the government of Japan must do something about this!
So far, based on my own observation, Japanese youths can meet a partner mostly via arubaito (part-time job), bukatsu (club or circle) or at parties. These are good ways, but the interaction links/mediums still should be increased. Actually not only the government, but also all parts of society can take part, for example sponsoring youth volunteering activities, sports activities, etc.
As I noticed, actually some organizations are already conducting such activities. But the frequency must still be enhanced because as the saying goes whether you are trying to hit ten or hundred times, more attempts will increase the chance of success. Thinking about youths’ interactions and relationships is actually a crucial issue to save the declining and graying population of Japan.