FAST COMPANY - Sep 17 - Japanese birthrate is among the lowest on earth, and the number of marriages is in decline. Many Japanese people don’t seem like dating sites. Some of the biggest ones position themselves as more social than romantic. Nikukai, meaning "Meat Meeting,” is an app designed to get groups of men and women together for Korean barbecue. Another app, Furendo Tossu is a site for meeting new people with common interests. Pairs, a dating app linked to Facebook that, along with MatchAlarm, NikuKai, and Yahoo Omiai, is one of the country’s most popular. Online dating in Japan has a shady history. People preferred anonymity, opting for cartoon avatars instead of photographs. On Pairs, photos regularly crop out distinguishing features, or instead show a favorite pet, stuffed animal, or an original drawing, expressing the user's taste. Another reason online dating has a seedy rep is baishun, meaning "to sell spring," with “spring” referring to youth or virginity. Baishun is the practice of Japanese teenage girls selling sex to older men online.
Mark Brooks: Marc Lesnick will run an Internet Dating Conference in China next year that will focus on mobile dating, along with advances and innovations in the Far East markets.