The Scoop: Singles face unique challenges in the Japanese dating scene, and Marriage Matching is uniquely suited to assist them. The owners of this matchmaking agency met through a mutual friend, so they understand the meaningful impact a good introduction can make on a single person’s life. After helping their Japanese friends get into loving relationships, Stephen Frost and his wife decided to go into business as professional matchmakers. Now they have expanded their reach internationally and support love-driven singles around the globe. These matchmakers value the privacy of their clients and provide extensive research to ensure every match is genuine with a good possibility for long-term romance.
Stephen Frost, the co-owner of the Marriage Matching matchmaking firm, met his wife when they happened to be sitting at the same table at a holiday dinner party in Japan. But most people aren’t that lucky.
There is an unspoken rule in Japan that makes it extremely hard for singles to meet new people. The culture of privacy and the stigma against rudeness combine to make it unlikely that two strangers will get into a conversation that leads to a relationship.
“If you ask to exchange contact details, you’ll get uncomfortable looks. People will only start to develop a friendship when they have a mutual contact or social group or happen to be in the same class at university,” Stephen said.
Stephen said his relationship with his wife was only possible because they had mutual friends. They chatted at a Christmas party, and she became comfortable with him on the basis of her friend’s familiarity. Stephen asked for her number, and she agreed. They started dating just a couple months later.
However, not all Japanese singles are fortunate enough to have that type of introduction. The social scene can be difficult for a single person to navigate because strangers are often met with suspicion rather than welcome. Pursuing a relationship in such an atmosphere is a non-starter — unless you know someone who can give you an in.
Stephen said their friends started asking him and his wife for help meeting other singles. The couple used their existing connections to help one friend, who found love, and then another friend came. Soon they expanded into a full-fledged introduction service. That’s how Marriage Matching began.
An International Business That Started as a Hobby
Stephen said the idea for opening a matchmaking agency came after many successful introductions among their friend group.
“For a very long time, we were introducing people on a casual, ad hoc basis,” Stephen said. “It got to the point where it was crazy. We knew it was a problem for singles, so we started an agency to help”
Marriage Matching has many clients in Japan, but it also serves an international audience. Expats and foreign travelers have turned to Stephen to help bridge the cultural divide.
Stephen has gotten in touch with singles who hail from the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States. These individuals are concerned about meeting catfishers online, so they seek a more trusted introduction service to help find dates in Japan.
“We know our local friends are people who are wanting serious relationships. They want to meet someone they can enjoy their life with and commit to,” he said. “That’s what we’ve done. We want to make a positive difference, so we made this international.”
Marriage Matching clients are from all over the world. The majority come from the U.K., U.S., Romania, Vietnam, Australia, Hong Kong, and of course Japan. Clients range in age from 25 to 69, but they’re all serious about finding a relationship that leads to marriage. After experiencing frustrations in the dating scene, these singles have turned to the professionals for assistance.
Stephen said he makes sure that one thing all his clients have in common is that they are genuinely kind and good-hearted people.
In-Depth Screening Process Ensures Authentic Pairings
Japanese people make wonderful partners because they have been raised with strong values and work ethics. They are typically thoughtful, honest, and loyal, and those qualities go a long way in a committed relationship.
“They are seeking partners who are respectful and kind, and that’s what is basically bringing them to us,” he said.
Marriage Matching is in business to foster long-term relationships between real people, and the team has a stringent screening process to make sure clients present themselves accurately.
When enrolling with the agency, new clients must fill out an initial questionnaire that inquiries about their age, location, career, and marital status. The team also checks to see if the person has a criminal record. If everything looks good, Stephen or his wife will schedule a consultation call that lasts no more than an hour.
“During that time, it’s us getting to know that person. We deal with all clients one on one. We get to know them, their character. That is beneficial when it comes to matchmaking,” Stephen said. “We take copious notes and have interactions after they’re registered, so we know very quickly whether these relationships will succeed.”
The background screening goes into great detail. Clients must supply a proof of address, a passport to confirm their identification, and — perhaps most importantly — proof that they are single. The Japanese government issues a single certificate to a person who is legally allowed to get married. Marriage Matching does not accept clients who are legally married, even if they are currently separated.
The single men who come to Marriage Matching must also prove their financial stability by showing pay slips or other income statements. The agency will also ask for proof of education, meaning degrees or transcripts, to ensure individuals cannot fake their credentials. Last of all, international clients will need to show their visas.
“We take it very seriously. In doing so, the people who we take on as clients, they’re more suitable and relationships work out well,” Stephen said. “Clients come into it from a point of honesty, and everyone benefits from that.”
Marriage Matching Helps Clients Find the Love They Deserve
Once the client is fully registered, Marriage Matching arranges upto three introduction meetings, or Omiai as they are known in Japan, per month. The limited number is on purpose. By focusing on quality over quantity, the matchmakers give their clients a chance to genuinely get to know the person before making any commitment.
This process leads to plenty of success, but Marriage Matching clients tend to value privacy and rarely offer testimonials. Still, Stephen said he knows of many couples who got into long-term relationships or tied the knot because of his introduction, and that’s enough for him.
“Love is something we think is fundamental to happiness in life,” he said. “We both have known relationships in the past where love has been absent or unpleasant. We know what it’s like when you’re living with a partner who you truly love and trust, and get the support back. We fundamentally believe that everyone is capable of enjoying that.”
During the coronavirus pandemic, Marriage Matching put some of its international services on hold, but Stephen said the agency is on track to open new offices in the U.S., the U.K., and Australia. Stephen and his wife also are planning to publish instructional guides to help people strengthen their relationships.
“We rarely have people who have relationship issues because that’s sorted at the very beginning,” he said. “But we want to help to keep things on track and keep the spice.”