Where have all the children gone?

School is back in session in this Japanese mountain town, where the student body has dramatically expanded to a very small size. Six-year-old Nozomi Fujioka is a first-grader at Yanagidani Elementary School. She’s a bright, articulate, and energetic kid, but even if she wasn’t, she’d still make a big impression on all the school’s teachers and staff. Why? Because she’s the one and only student in her entire class. The Japanese school year starts in April, and in 2023, 2022, and 2021 Yanagidani Elementary had zero new first-graders. As a matter of fact, the town has so few elementary school-age kids that for 2023 they simply closed the elementary school for an entire year.

Japan is like many first world countries that are losing population every day. The numbers are going down mostly because Japanese young people are not that interested in forming families or having any children. You may have heard all the dire predictions that the world will be running out of air or food or clean water; the real problem for the foreseeable future is that the civilized world will be running out of people. The Tokyo city hall has seen the problem and has a solution: Called “Tokyo Futari Story,” the city hall’s new initiative is just that: An effort to create “couples” – “futari,” in a country where it is increasingly common to be “hitori,” or alone. While the site offering counsel and general information for potential lovebirds is online, a dating app is also in development.

Details were still undecided. Japanese media reports that said the app will require a confirmation of identity, such as a driver’s license, your tax records to prove income and a signed form that says you are ready to get married. Marriage is on the decline in Japan as the country’s birth rate fell to an all-time low. On the national level, the government has been trying to solve a serious labor shortage by promising cash payments for families with children and supporting child-care facilities. It’s also relaxed immigration policy over the years to encourage an influx of foreign workers. There are concerns that Japanese workplace norms tend to lead to extremely long hours and rarely meeting people outside work. Tokyo City Hall is also sponsoring events where singles can meet, couples can get counseling on marriage and where lovers can have their stories of how they first met turned into manga comics or songs.

To boost Japan’s sagging birth rate, under the logic that you’re not likely to decide to have a baby with someone unless you’re in a steady relationship, and you can’t have a steady relationship until you’ve had your first date together. “Tokyo is looking to provide seamless support, from first meeting to marriage to childbirth, so that anyone who wants to get married and have children can do so.” The hope is that, as an official government-administered program, singles will have more faith in Tokyo’s dating app and feel less apprehensive about using it than they would other online dating services, many of which have shady stigmas. Tokyo deigning its own dating app is something that’s grabbing people’s attention, since it represents a continually running way for millions of singles to meet one another.

Fun with dating apps

My friend told me to use multiple dating apps to find a partner because…
she doesn’t believe in love at first site.

Which Disney Princess is always on dating apps?

Girlfriends are like phone apps,
They come with in-app purchases, and need the reassurance of updates to function well.

A bachelor asked the new AI computer app to find him the perfect mate: “I want a companion who is black, small and cute, loves water sports, and enjoys group activities.” Back came the answer: “Marry a Penguin.” 

After only six months of marriage, the unhappy wife made an appointment with a divorce lawyer.  “We met through a computer dating service,” she said between sobs, “For the life of me, I’ll never understand what that machine saw in him.” 

June 14th Birthdays

1969 – Steffi Graf, 1905 – Margaret Burke, 1989 – Lucy Hale, 1967 – Wendy Lian Williams

1946  – Donald Trump  1994 – Ryan McCartan, 1989 – Kevin McHale, 1993 – Darryl Sabara

Morning Motivator: