Paper stained with ink and sweet words. In the municipality of Miyazaki, in southern Japan, 450 people decided to leave Tinder, Meetic or Bumble. For them, there is no more “swipe”. Farewell to descriptions that offer an endless “Netflix and chill” as a first date. Bye-bye, too, more or less inspired catchphrases, like “Got a bandage? I hurt myself by falling on your spell”… To find a soul mate, these Japanese return to the pen, with love letters.
A scent of Jane Austen romance floats around this project, called Miyazaki Koibumi (“Miyazaki’s love letters”), brought in by Rie Miyata’s company and launched in April 2020. The blue flower entrepreneur – and good communicator – reasoning: compare to online dating apps, writing letters “It takes more time and pushes everyone to imagine the person they are talking to”, he pointed out. Before proceeding: “It’s not so much a feathered story. […] Above all, you need to choose every word in your heart, thinking about the person you are writing to. A council that makes, according to him, the letters “powerful”.
“The Pressure of the Pen”
A power that the Miyazaki municipality, which commands the company, hopes to have enough size to arouse love at first sight among its residents. So is its birth rate. For if its long beaches planted with palm trees were a good place for romantic comedy, the city would still see a decline in its population. Like everything in Japan, by the way.
By 2021, only 810,000 children will be born in the country (almost more than in France, which accounts for half the population) and the fertility rate will be only 1.3 children per woman on average, well below the generational change threshold. estimated to be 2.1 children. This gives the island the lowest fertility rate in the world as well as the oldest population.
In two years, Miyazaki Koibumi’s 32 letters will result in a single date. Thanks to their prose, the 17 would have turned into a love story. From a Japanese newspaper The Mainichi, a 30-year-old says he exchanged three letters… in two months. Before finally meeting his reporter for lunch. In the media, he describes how the epistolary relationship led him to imagine his similarity. “caring person”. Because of his answers, the form of his letters … “and the pressure of his pen”.
“You are judged by your personality”
But how does the handwritten love potion offered by Rie Miyata work? The boss occupies an important role in his team, as they select candidates and form pairs of reporters from their personal information. Like their favorite movies, books or sports (a formula that’s pretty similar to the algorithm of some dating sites, but doesn’t mind).
According to the management office, was contacted by The Mainichi, 70% of participants were between 20 and 30 years old. Among the reasons for registration, one young man explained: “The coronavirus reduces the chance of meeting new people.” Another argument: “I admire the meetings that take place outside of social networks.”
And rightly so, Cupid’s arrows arched by Rie Miyata against the grain of numbers in love codes. Here, there is no photo. Participants knew only the age, name, profession and address of the other. “In the letters, you are judged by your personality, not by your body,” commitment to the director. And once the first stammer – no more than two sheets – has been written, wrapped and sealed, the singles who participated in the project will drop it in a yellow mailbox in the Aoshima district, known for bringing good luck.
ACCORDING The Mainichi, the latter created himself to mention a legendary local romance: that of Princess Toyotama and the god of the earth, Yamasachihiko. They also took out the ballpoint pen to tickle their feelings. A difference, a little less romantic (but a bit embarrassing), though, works in modern Miyazaki: letters are first proofread by a company employee before being sent. A way to prevent obscenities and insults from passing between the two coos.