Here’s What You Need to Know About Japanese Blind Dating
Love is in the air!
For some people, the term “gokon” might ring a bell. It is usually portrayed in different Japanese dramas and anime series and is used to describe the act of finding a prospective boyfriend or girlfriend.
The word gokon comes from “godo” (meaning united, together) and “compa” (meaning guys and girls who drink together to get to know each other). Compa is also the abbreviation of the word “company.”
If you’re curious to learn more about what happens in gokons, we give you the inside scoop in this article.
How it is planned
First, a male-female pair acts as planners. Both of them need to take into consideration the match and answer requests of those who they’ll be inviting.
They also decide on the number of people who will be joining the gokon. Usually, they invite their friends and colleagues. The male organizer, along with the other guys in the group, will choose the restaurant since they’re the ones who are most likely to pay for the food.
The date, time, and place are set before the details are announced to both parties.
It is said that three females and males make up the ideal gokon. This number prevents the risk of having too few people (not finding your type) or too many (not having enough time to talk with everyone in the group).
How it works
Girls are typically the ones who think about the kind of clothes they’ll be wearing to look good during the gathering. Balance is very important in considering what outfit to put on. It can neither be too showy, too plain, nor too cute. Many Japanese women take their cues from fashion magazines, which sometimes have a special section that features the best pieces to wear at a gokon.
During the gokon itself, guys sit at one side and the women sit on the other. They start by introducing themselves, making sure to mention their name, nickname, where they’re from, where they study/work, what their hobbies are, and what their expectations are for that gathering.
After having a toast, the group eats and engages in conversation. It is usually the guys’ job to think of the subjects to talk about. Gradually, the group talk turns into individual conversations, where the guys and girls split into pairs and get to know more about the person they’re interested in.
Some gokons involve doing fun activities to make the mood lighter. Here are some of them:
Playing a game
The most popular gokon game is the “osama game” (King’s Game). Participants need a pen and some sticks (waribashi is the easier choice if they’re at an izakaya) or strips of paper before they start.
A person will write “Osama” on one of them, and numbers 1 to the corresponding number of players, on the rest. Everybody draws a stick and the person who gets the chopstick with “Osama” on it will be assigned as the king.
The king will then assign different kinds of dares for the other players. He can order them to do something and must specify which players will do the tasks by saying, for example, “No. 1 will do this to No. 3” or “No. 2 will tell us about…” This is repeated several times. It normally starts with an easy topic, such as confessing the most embarrassing moment in one’s life and ends with a difficult task like kissing someone.
Changing the seating arrangement
After an hour or so, they change the seating arrangement and talk to another person in the group. The body language is important in determining who likes who.
Sometimes, women show their female companions who they like without having to say anything. For example, the direction of their chopsticks points to the person they’re interested in.
Karaoke as the after-party
After another two or three hours, they move to another place if things are going well between the people in the group. Again, where they sit and what they sing are important to winning the gokon game.
Fun Trivia: There are certain J-pop songs called “mote song” (songs with lyrics and melodies that make people fall in love). There are love songs for both men and women.
The longer the night goes on, the more the potential couples are drawn to each other. What do you think? Do you have a similar kind of practice in your country?
(5 March 2019)