Japan's spouse hunters hone skills at marriage school

Thu Mar 11, 2010 1:17pm EST
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By Toshi Maeda

TOKYO (Reuters Life!) - In search of Mr. or Mrs. Right, dozens of Japanese are attending a newly launched school in Tokyo that aims to turn them into marriage material.

The Infini school offers various classes for wannabe brides and grooms at a time when many people in Japan are either shunning the institution of marriage or are finding it very difficult to hook up with a partner.

The school, which is open to men and women, teaches students how to talk, walk and present themselves elegantly in a bid to capture the hearts and minds of prospective partners and their parents, who are often a major obstacle to successful unions.

Infini, which opened last month, now has about 30 female students. An almost equal number of males has signed up, but those who actually turn up to class are much fewer than their female counterparts.

"I had never even thought that my boyfriend's mother could play such a big role in my relationship, but now I've realized I need to start thinking seriously about how to impress my future in-laws," said Kozue Sugawara, 29, who joined the school after her previous marriage plans failed.

With women wielding increased economic clout and changing social attitudes toward marriage, more Japanese in their 20s and 30s are single than ever before.

Government statistics show nearly two-thirds of women under the age of 34 are unmarried, despite some 3,800 firms in Japan offering match-making services.

The average age of the school's female students is 30 years.   Continued...