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Matchmakers in China & Japan

In today’s busy professional world, more and more upscale, single professionals are turning to match making services to find a mate. Some feel they need a go-between because they are recently divorced and find it hard to get back into the singles scene, while others just don’t have the time or the inclination to join the dating game.

While the widespread use of matchmakers is a fairly recent phenomenon in the West, matchmakers have always played a vital role in arranging marriages in China and Japan.

In China, the tradition of matchmaking has its roots in the mythological figure of Nu Gua (also known as Nuwua, Nukua, and other variations of the name). Nu Gua created mankind out of various colors of mud, and then invented sex and marriage. The norms that she helped establish for marriage included the use of go-betweens to bring together a potential husband and wife. Nu Gua is usually depicted as having a human head and the body of a snake.

In traditional feudal Chinese society, girls usually stayed at home and rarely went out to work or to other venues where they would have a chance to meet strange men. So the girl’s parents would use the services of a matchmaker to find a mate and help arrange a marriage with a boy from a household with the same social status. Using a go-between also made it easier for the reserved ancient Chinese, who were afraid of “loosing face” if their daughter was refused directly.

Marriage was considered a commercial transaction, not a romantic event. The traditional matchmaker, who was always an elderly woman, has been likened to a combination between a public relations manager and a real estate agent. She was expected to know all the families in the area and their backgrounds and social status.

Although the use of a matchmaker is becoming less prevalent among modern Chinese professionals, it is still a common practice in Japan.

Traditionally in Japan, marriage was often arranged between children of feudal lords as a diplomatic and political means to maintain peace and harmony. Thus the matchmaker, or Nakodo, played a very important role in maintaining a stable society. The ancient tradition is called mi-ai.

In today’s version of mi-ai, a matchmaker sets up the first meeting between a prospective bride and groom, which is also attended by members of the couple’s families. After that, it is up to the man and the woman to decide whether or not they want to continue the relationship. In the past, it was totally up to the man, but today the woman also has a voice in the decision. But as in the past, if the two people decide to get married, the woman leaves her family and becomes part of her husband’s family.

But here in New York, your best bet perhaps is the New York dating service

About the Author: Independent Author in Thailand

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