Like in many modern countries, Japanese women focus on their careers and marry late. The 11 March Great East Japan Earthquake that plagued the country may have been a wake up call to many singles particularly women.
A surge in the number of singles was seen in several matchmaking sites for people seeking for lifetime partners, Asahi.com said.
A 30-year-old Tokyoite employee said, "I am more worried about my future and now realize how important it is to have a family. I want to form a bond with others."
She said that the twin disasters made her rethink of her lifestyle. She experienced difficulty in sleeping. It took six hours for her to get back home on the night of the earthquake because all the transportations were shut down.
She is one among the many who availed of the matchmaking services during the Golden Week in early May.
Inquiries to marriage agencies, marriages via matchmaking services and sale of engagement rings are skyrocketing, according to agencies and retailers.
A 12 percent increase in the number of request for brochures was observed in April compared to 12 months before, said O-net Inc., a popular matchmaking company in the capital city.
The soaring numbers were particularly evident with women in the Kanto area, one of the worst hit areas, at 24 percent.
An agency official of the Osaka-kita branch said, "More inquiries started coming in the immediate aftermath of the quake. We are seeing a 20 percent to a 30 percent increase in the number of people becoming our members compared with the past."
After the quake, membership increased in Kanto region and in Nagano, Niigata and Yamanashi prefectures, said Sunmarie Co., another Tokyo-based company.
Marriage inquiries from women rose to 30 percent post-tsunami, according to Anshin Group, a marriage company in Morioka, Iwate Prefecture.
The Fukushima branch of Kekkon Joho Center (marriage information) noted a 50 percent rise in membership after the disasters.
"People who felt OK about being by themselves under normal circumstances must have felt a strong urge to have some kind of tangible security," said Chuo University's Professor Masahiro Yamada of Family Sociology.
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