Staff Interview

IBJ Marriage & Life Design Support Company

Interview staff profile​

Name: Shigeru Ishizaka

Job/Post: Representative director and President.CEO


Japanese “marriage” environment

Utsumi: Now there is one of the social issues that Japan's birthrate is declining. How do you see the current situation ?

Ishizaka: The main reasons for the declining birthrate problem are the rapid increase in the number of unmarried people and the cost of raising children, represented by the cost of education. As a major factor, the salary level of young people has also not risen much considering the tax burden. The economic aspect can be improved by the government taking economic support measures, but the former problem of unmarried people is that the national and local governments cannot step in because marriage and partnership are private matters for individuals. Therefore, we believe it is important for private businesses such as IBJ to work on measures to address the unmarried population. There are many services that only provide matching services such as matching apps, but for Japanese youth, it is important that marriage activity counselors provide not only matching services but also support dating, relationships, and especially support up to engagement to think seriously about marriage and proposing marriage.

Utsumi: In Japan, marriage counselor is recognized as one profession. I think this is rare in the world, isn't it?

Ishizaka: Although there are marriage counselors in other countries, most of them provide matching and dating services, and I am not sure if there are examples in other countries where they even do engagements and proposals. Japanese clients see added value in our support through to engagement.

The future of IBJ's business

Utsumi: There are concerns that Japan's declining birthrate and aging population will result in a shrinking market.

Ishizaka: In the term of the next 20 or 30 years, IBJ's business is more likely to see potential users of its services materialize than it is to see a decline in the population, and we believe that the expansion of the number of users will outpace the decline in the population. We also believe that the number of people who find a partner and get married through matching apps will increase, but the marriage agency market will also expand in parallel with the growth of matching apps. We will enjoy market expansion for the foreseeable future.

Utsumi: In short, you are saying that the use of marriage counseling services will correlatively increase with the spread of matching apps?

Ishizaka: The digital native generation under 30s after COVID, who were resistant to receiving marriage counseling services until the Heisei Era (1989-2019), are now emphasizing cost-effectiveness, rationality, and time performance using social networking and digital technology. With the widespread use of apps, shyness toward dating services is rapidly fading, and we expect dating services to take root as a convenient, tireless, and high-performance service.

The first book "A Professional Matchmaker's Guide to Smart Marriage Activities to Get Proposed in 90 Days" is now on sale!

Utsumi: Congratulations on the publication of your book. We would love to hear about the process that led to its publication.

Ishizaka: IBJ's service is methodical in that once the first meeting (blind date) is made, the couple is married within 90 days. This is because they have the proper support from our counselors. This book discloses the support methods of our counselors. We wrote this book with the aim of increasing the number of service users and raising the level of trust in the industry as a whole by making the support of matchmakers and counselors known to singles and those who want to get married. We hope you will read this book.

Utsumi: It is wonderful! I think it is because of your confidence that you are able to spread IBJ's methods. I hope that this book will be seen by many people and that Japan as a whole will become more positive about marriage. Thank you very much for your time today.