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Word Count: 292
In Japan there are two types of marriage the so-called love marriage and the arranged marriage The love marriage is the type we are familiar with in the West where the couple meet independently without the assistance of a go-between or matchmaker The modern system of arranged marriage is somewhat similar to blind dating in the United States When a young woman reaches marriageable age she and her parents make a packet of information about her including a photograph of her in kimono and descriptions of her family background education hobbies accomplishments and interests Her parents then ask among their friends and co-workers to see if anyone knows a man who would be a suitable husband for her The person who does becomes the go-between showing the packet to the potential bridegroom and if both parties approve of each other meeting then the marriage is arranged Such meetings often take place in the restaurant of a posh hotel The go-between is present usually along with representatives from both families If the young couple feel inclined they will begin dating with marriage as a possible -- but not inevitable -- result It is not uncommon for a woman to have 10 or more such introductions before she finds the man she wants to marry The young man and woman make the final decision about marriage between themselves though they seek the advice and approval of their parents and their go-between Some Japanese feel that romantic love is not the most important ingredient in a successful marriage perhaps this belief is borne out by the fact that the divorce rate in Japan generally is lower than that in the United States The divorce rate for arranged marriages in Japan is lower than for love marriages
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