HARD TIMES

Japan's "Marriage Hunters"

Desperate times, desperate measures: In Japan, so-called "marriage hunters" are on the prowl, searching for a husband to support them through economic decline. They apply to dating agencies and network, spreading the word that that they are available and anxious to settle down. The marriage hunters have become so common that there is even a shrine where women buy good luck charms and receive blessings that improve their odds of tying the knot. The phenomenon marks a return to Japan's more traditional roots, as many Japanese women distance themselves from the gains made by the previous generation. One young woman, referring to her elders, elaborated, "They didn't have to depend on men and that's cool, but it's not the path I want to follow."