- Miai | Traditional Japanese Matchmaker
Miai | Traditional Japanese Matchmaker
What is Miai?
Miai means the process of matchmaking in Japanese. It also means arranged marriage. If you say omiai, it sounds politer.
Here is a description about miai from wikipedia.
Miai (見合い, “matchmaking”, literally “look meet”), or omiai (お見合い) as it is properly known in Japan with its honorific ‘o’ in place, is a Japanese traditional custom which relates closely to western matchmaking, in which a woman and a man are introduced to each other to consider the possibility of marriage.
What is the Origin of Miai?
The origin of miai has some meanings.
- 見合う。見つめ合う。(mi au / mitsume au) looking at each other. look at one another. facing each other. You can imagine sumo wrestlers facing each other when they take sumo.
- A matchmaker arranges the special opportunity for a single man and woman to meet. In the past, friends, relatives, and neighbors shared and exchanged their childrens’ information in their community in order to find the best match when they reached a suitable age for marriage.
- We, as traditional Japanese matchmakers, use the word miai as meetings that are arranged for single men and women. Zoom omiai meetings are becoming more popular and have become a standard way of meeting during the pandemic.
- miai / 見合う miau also means both sides are balanced. For example, if you say that Kare wa watashi ni miatta kekkon aite (彼は私に見合った結婚相手。) This means that he is the one who is in the same class as I am. In Japan, people believe that finding a marriage partner in the same or higher class is most important for the prosperity of their descendants.
Before World War II, parents intervened in their children’s matrimonial affairs including in finding their partner, and children were supposed to listen to their parents. There wasn’t much freedom for children at that time. After western culture came to Japan, Japanese people started to have more freedom and were able to follow their own instincts and value their own feelings. Now single men and women in Japan can make their own decisions without asking their parents when selecting their spouses.
These days, dating apps are becoming more popular in Japan. At the same time, single professionals hire matchmakers for assistance in selecting certain types of people that they would like to marry.
Miai culture still exists in Japan in the 21st century, and hiring matchmakers is very popular in Japan because single professionals understand its benefits and meeting someone in the same class is important to them.
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