Konkatsu events in Japan are meant to help people meet and marry, and they might consist of something like a group dinner. However, the local government of the Aichi Prefecture (the prefecture where Ghibli Park is located) is putting on a konkatsu event that consists of a Studio Ghibli scavenger hunt.
People who want to take part must be between 20 and 39 years old, and they must have some connection to the Aichi Prefecture, like living there or traveling there for work or school. The initial idea was to get 400 people, split them into smaller groups (with an equal number of men and women in each group) and then set them loose on the scavenger hunt. The hunt won’t actually go inside Ghibli Park, but there are plenty of Ghibli things in the area, including, for instance, sculptures of Mei’s hat and corn (from My Neighbor Totoro) being placed permanently on a public bench.
The people putting on the event thought 400 was a good, sizable number, but then they were swamped with applications. During the application period of August 1 to September 18, a whopping 2,249 individuals sent in their applications. Breaking it down, 1,175 men and 1,074 women applied.
One official associated with the konkatsu event commented, “I think this shows that people are looking for a chance to find a romantic partner.”
The scavenger hunt will occur on October 7. To narrow the 2,249 people down to 400, a lottery system was put in place. With so many people still left out, it’s possible that another konkatsu event or events will take place in the future, but so far only one is confirmed. Odds are anyone taking part is already a Studio Ghibli fan, so even if the meetings don’t lead to dating or marriage, they might lead to meeting some like-minded friends.
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.