The government of Aichi Prefecture in Japan organized a Studio Ghibli-themed dating event intended to cater to 400 participants—only for it to be mobbed by applications from thousands of hopeless romantics and avid fans of the animation studio.
According to a report by Tokyo-based news outlet SoraNews24, the matchmaking event is derived from the Japanese term "konkatsu" which translates to "marriage activities" where a program is prepared for people looking for a marriage-minded romantic partner.
For this Ghibli-themed event, the program includes grouping participants into groups of three men and three women and engaging them in public art scavenger hunts in the Aichi Expo Memorial Park,
Just like any dating event, it is necessary for the participants to comply with the demographic requirements. For this konkatsu, the singles should be aged between 20 and 39, and either living, working, or studying within the Aichi Prefecture.
Most importantly, applicants should be Studio Ghibli fans in order to comply with the theme and establish a mutual moderate interest in anime films with their soon-to-be partners.
The event was initially launched to accommodate 400 participants only. However, the application period, set from August 1 to September 18, garnered 2,249 people (1,175 males and 1,074 females)–reaching nearly six times the number of people they anticipated!
The causes include the broad popularity of Ghibli’s animated movies in Japan and the people's demand for matchmaking events due to the numerous cancellations and suspensions of events of the same kind in the country.
Marriage rates in Japan continue to drop as people marry at a later time. One of the reasons for this decrease is also the perceived loss of people’s personal identity and freedom once they tie the knot and wear the ring forever.