For the notoriously self-effacing Japanese, finding a spouse could be a bit troublesome. Thankfully, that problem has been remedied with the time-honored practice of omiai. Although to outsiders omiai means nothing more than an arranged marriage, the practice itself is far more elaborate. Before any meet-ups, the matchmaker conducts a comprehensive background check of the man and woman, as well as their families. An exchange of pictures between the candidates and their families also occurs. The stringent cross-examination ensures that the families are well-suited to each other and also lessens the chances of future conflict.
Omiai started during Japan’s feudal age and was utilized mostly for political alliances. The practice greatly declined after World War II, when the resulting Western influx influenced young Japanese couples to go out on dates. However, the practice of omiai is still used to a large extent by the Japanese, especially those in the upper tier of society. Even major corporations like Mitsubishi have used omiai, mainly to help their employees find a marriage partner.