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by  |  29-Jul-2015 05:24

Given Japan's dating and demographic crisis, why the squeamishness about meeting in cyberspace?

To understand Japanese dating sites, the first thing you need to realize is that many don’t seem like dating sites at all.

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Few uncoupled twentysomethings in New York haven't at least tried a dating site, whether they’re searching for serious relationships or quick hookups.

So why is the subject so touchy in Japan, a technologically hip country (their ketai cellphones surfed the Web long before our smart phones) that otherwise seems comfortable discussing sex?

"She actually messaged me first," says the software engineer, who’s now 23 and working at a web startup in Tokyo [names of daters in this piece have been changed to protect their privacy].

But I wasn't really attracted to her in person, so I said no." Onuki is a rarity in Japan: Somebody who will openly discuss meeting romantic partners online.

It’s a bit of a mystery: Japanese dating sites—known as deaikei—are numerous and thriving, with apps like Pairs, Match Alarm, Niku Kai, and Yahoo Omiai attracting growing numbers of fans.

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