Cultural References

Holidays & Festivals

While it is true that more and more young men and women are united in marriage on their own will through love, the practice of "Mi-Ai" is still widely observed to end in a happy married life for many. "Mi-Ai" is an interview for a man and woman with a view to marriage, as arranged by their parents or a third party acting as a gobetween. It is proposed with due consideration to social backgrounds and other factors of the prospective bride and bridegroom and their families. It is not compulsory on either of the parties concerned to accept such "Mi-Ai" as a promise for marriage. Usually, however, preliminary studies are made to assure a success in "Mi-Ai" where the prospective bride and bridegroom are more or less to make a final decision through personal impressions of each other.

A theater, hotel or restaurant may well be used for "Mi-Ai" where the proposed couple and their families make their acquaintance. The "Mi-Ai" interview is no longer considered to force any compulsory consequence upon either of the parties concerned. It is a proctice for parents, gobetweens and friends with a particular view to unite, if desired, a young man and woman, thought out to be ideal partners in marriage. Even when successfully conducted, the man and woman concerned are usually given months to get to know each other and possibly to learn to love each other.

Relevance to Maison Ikkoku

Ichinose attempts to set Kyoko up with a few prospective husbands early in the series by showing her photos from a matchmaking service. This would lead to a Mi-Ai. But it is not until Asuna Kujo and her family enter the series and Mitaka is forced into a marriage meeting that fans of the series see what a true Mi-Ai is all about.

An Introduction to Maison Ikkoku