“We once had one guy who’d held these feelings for a woman inside himself for six years. He’d finally built up the guts to confess his love, but wanted us to check her out first just in case she rejected him.”
Despite the likes of email and instant messaging allowing amorous admirers to approach the object of their desires without the risk of a frosty face-to-face rejection, many Japanese men it seems are still very reluctant to reveal their feelings for fear of somehow fluffing their lines or being flatly turned down. A situation that is apparently ideal for the Onayami Kaiketsu Tanteidan confession service, as for a fee – dependent on the service required – all the hard work can be taken care of by a total stranger, allowing the worrying wooer to simply waltz up at the end and claim his prize; or alternatively silently skulk away if the feelings aren’t reciprocal.
According to consultant Kimiko Yoshii, “about 70 percent of customers are men in their 30s who’ve had serious feelings for a woman for a long time.” Yet although a service to simply pass on the message to the lady in question is very cheap, many requests require elaborate preparations that can cost anything upwards of 100,000 yen (448 pound).
Simply opting for the tried and trusted ‘my mate fancies you’ method, or instead organising a coincidental coming together however would appear to be way too simple, with a system almost akin to stalking being the desired technique. “First we find the target, where she lives, what kind of guys she likes, that sort of stuff. If we approach her immediately, she’d probably be more shocked than anything else, so we pretend to be carrying out street interviews for market research and approach her that way, finding out her private details at the same time.”
And if such clandestine considerations weren’t enough, Yoshii-san also adds that, “once she gets to know the service member’s face, we can then introduce discussion about the client, saying things like how he had remarked on her being ‘cute.’ There’s not a woman in the world who’d object to being cute. If mentioning that he fancies her comes up in the course of some girl talk, she’s not likely to suspect anything.”
Despite this method being about as direct as the men it is serving, a time is eventually arranged for the client to meet the love of his life and set about awkwardly articulating his feelings. Then, once the cat is finally out of the bag, it’s simply a case of the staffer discreetly riding off into the distance.
“It’d be a bit weird if somebody who’s been claiming to be the client’s friend suddenly disappeared out of his life soon after setting up an introduction with a new partner. The staff member will suddenly announce over the phone or by e-mail that she’s got an impending marriage or move and ease out of the new couple’s life that way.”
All quite simple really.