The Japanese are more reserved than their Western counterparts when it comes to romance. Showing excessive public displays of affection is frowned upon by Japan’s conservative society, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t one romantic among them.
The town of Nagareyama in Chiba Prefecture recently launched a website where love struck youth can officially declare their love by submitting “love registration” forms.
Koitodoke, or “love declaration forms,” are somewhat similar to a marriage contract without the ’til death do us part’ clause. While not binding, it is perfect for those who want make their love “official” in black and white. Couples – even singles – can download koitodoke from the city’s website. One can apparently file a koitodoke even if the apple of their eye is not aware of their love.
Since launching on February 14, the city government said they received not more than 10 applications but said nearly 4,000 people have accessed the site and many have presumably downloaded and kept the document for themselves.
Spokesman Hideo Tsutsui said the form gives young people a way to assert their romantic feelings and is hoped to help encourage childbirth in what could be the government’s desperate move to tackle the country’s falling birthrate.
The service, which will last through May, was launched to promote the movie “Momose, Kocchi wo Muite” (Momose, Look At Me) filmed at various locations in Nagareyama. Based on a novel by Eiichi Nakata, the movie depicts the story of a young novelist and his first love experience.
“We hope the film will not only put young people’s love experiences in the spotlight, but will also draw attention to the environment in Nagareyama,” said Naobumi Oshima of the city government’s marketing section.
By Maesie Bertumen
Main image: Flickr/randylane