Kanagawa woman finds success in crowdfunding matchmaking quest

A Kanagawa woman who started a crowdfunding project last year to bankroll her search for a husband is on course to reap the ultimate dividend.

After meeting 11 suitors in the space of a month through the formal Japanese matchmaking tradition of omiai, 27-year-old Tomoko Takebe has found a man who intends to walk her down the aisle.

“I was scared to actually go through with the project, but doing it has allowed me to meet a really great person,” said Takebe, whose project, titled “Is it OK if I like you? 26-year-old, 178-cm single woman is serious about omiai,” raised over ¥500,000 through the crowdfunding platform Campfire.

“It was a really difficult first step, but I realized that you have to take up the challenge,” she said. “I did that and it has made me really happy.”

Crowdfunding is a method of raising money for ventures by asking a large number of people to contribute varying amounts, and has been used to fund everything from movies to clean water projects in developing countries.

Takebe met with The Japan Times in May last year to explain her project, which invited backers to pay money to either meet her for an omiai date or join a group of well-wishers supporting her quest for matrimony.

Omiai, a tradition that began among the samurai class in 16th century Japan, involves men and women being formally introduced with a view to marriage. Personal details, including education and professional background, income and family history, are exchanged along with a photograph before meeting.

Takebe, who worked in public relations and as a freelance writer at the time of her project, attracted 72 backers in total and met her crowdfunding target figure of ¥260,000 within the first 10 days. She spent the money on paying for dates and hiring a photographer to make formal introduction cards.

From June 25 to July 28 last year, Takebe met 11 suitors, who included salarymen, a manga artist and a divorcee company president, and ranged in age…

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