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In a lot of ways, romance is a toss of the dice. There’s a long checklist of items you want to be compatible on before making a relationship permanent and tying the knot, but you’ll cross the threshold for the initial spark long before that. The only way to know if the person you’re attracted to is legitimate marriage material is by going on dates and spending time together, and sometimes the potential we see early on doesn’t pan out, which is why so few people end up married to their junior high school sweetheart.

Of course, sometimes luck is on your side when you roll the bones, and for some people their first love is also their true one. A recent survey revealed just how often this happens in Japan, as well as a few other statistics about Japanese chances for love.

Roughly one out of every hundred marriages in Japan is between first loves. While that’s far less than the plots of clichéd anime and trendy dramas would have you believe, it still proves that on rare occasions, it is possible to find exactly what you’re looking for in a life partner on the very first try.

The flipside to this is, of course, that 99 percent of the time, debut romances don’t work out. Youth and inexperience can make lovers dumb and hurtful as often as pure and innocent, which is probably why 57.3 percent of those asked said they have no interest at all in seeing their first crush ever again.

▼ Also, the 40-some-odd percent who wouldn’t mind a reunion didn’t specify whether their goal would be to catch up with each other or to exact terrible vengeance.

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For those who don’t go the distance on their first relationship, it’s back into the dating pool. While some people in English-speaking countries contend that you shouldn’t dip your pen in the company ink, Japan is much more accepting of the practice. The most common response for how married couples met was through work, either as coworkers, clients, or some other sort of business counterpart, which accounted for a solid one-third of marriages among those surveyed.

It’s well known that Japan’s birth and marriage rates have been dropping recent years, though. In the 1980s, just 2.6 percent of men spent their entire lives as bachelors, and only 4.4 percent of women never walked down the aisle. Now, those figures have jumped to 20 and 10 percent, respectively.

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While this is great news for Nissin and other makers of instant ramen, some communities have been trying to curb the trend by organizing local events called machikon, large mixer parties for singles who live in the area.

While the idea of getting hooked up by city hall might be a little jarring at first, the numbers actually paint a fairly rosy picture of machikon, with three out of five participants coming away with the phone number, email address, or some other contact info for someone they’re interested in, and 32.4 percent later meeting up for a one-on-one date. Of course, it’s a lot harder finding a serious boyfriend or girlfriend, and tougher still parlaying a machikon meeting into a marriage, for which the probabilities are only five and one percent, respectively.

Oddly enough, the survey didn’t delve into success rates of privately organized matchmaking parties, called goukon, in which groups of equally-numbered single male and female acquaintances get together. What it did calculate, though, was the chance of a “large-breasted beauty” showing up at a five-on-five goukon, which was somehow calculated at 6.6 percent.

▼ We have no idea what the criteria was for “large-breasted,” but it’s worth pointing out that being overly fixated on bust size is an easy way to land yourself in that 20 percent of men who end up as permanent bachelors.

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Speaking of lust, the final statistic revealed by the study was the rate of shotgun weddings in Japan. In the 1980s, it was a modest 12.5 percent, but now, it’s risen to 25. In reflection of this rising social norm, some are even pushing a new term for the union. While dekichatta kekkon (“the baby got made wedding”) has long been the most common way to refer to them, a few people have instead adopted the phrase sazukari kekkon, or “blessed with a baby wedding,” instead.

▼ “Committed to putting up with a colic baby together wedding” remains an unpopular choice, however.

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The bad news in all this is that none of the paths leading to marriage have anywhere close to a 50-percent chance of success, so no matter which course you take, you’ve got better-than-even odds of ending up right back at the start, single again. The good news? There’s nothing stopping you from rolling the dice as many times as you want, until the number you’re looking for finally comes up.

▼ Yeah, that stinks. Now try again.

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Source: Yahoo! Japan
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