Services to coordinate class reunions are finding more takers because of the scarcity of people willing to take charge of contacting former classmates and securing venues.
Dousoukai Net Co. arranged a reunion in Kawagoe, Saitama Prefecture, in late February for a local junior high school’s graduating class of 1990 and their teachers.
Around 100 people attended the event, with staff of the Osaka-based company taking care of all the details — everything from manning the reception desk and taking photos to handling the accounts.
Dousoukai Net began preparations for the event four months earlier, booking a venue, sending out invitations and confirming numbers.
Kenta Uzuki, who asked Dousoukai Net to make the arrangements, was grateful for the service.
“It was impossible for me to coordinate the reunion while working,” he said.
The company arranges some 350 reunions a year and its fees start at ¥8,000 per person. Many of these events are attended by 200 to 300 people in their 30s to 50s.
Masahito Itami, president of Dousoukai Net, started the service in 2002 after a survey he conducted found that while many people wanted to attend reunions, less than 10 percent were willing to organize them.
Syoya Inc. is another company that coordinates reunions, often in cooperation with companies that want to use such events for advertising purposes.
It cuts its fees by anything from ¥500 up to a few thousand yen per person if participants receive sample products from sponsor companies or answer questions from them.
Syoya has some 30 such sponsors on its books, including cosmetics firms, food companies and auto dealers. A reunion held in March for graduates of a high school in Chiba Prefecture was supported by two companies that shouldered part of the expenses. Syoya staff distributed help-wanted ads and cosmetic samples among the participants.
Local governments see class reunions as good opportunities for young people to consider returning to their hometowns from big cities. Syoya and local governments would like to see people hold class reunions at the age of 30, before many of them have settled down completely.
As local companies participate, the program can help contribute to the revitalization of economic activity, create jobs and aid population growth in cities and towns outside major urban centers, a Syoya official said.
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