One weekend afternoon in March, some 30 single men and women gathered at a matchmaking event in Tokyo's Yotsuya district in the hope of meeting their future partner. What was unusual was that the participants comprised men willing to become stay-at-home house husbands and women looking for such a partner.

During a workshop to introduce themselves, the men talked about their passion for cooking and about the importance of males doing homemaking and fathers bringing up children.

"I'm not looking to become a full-time house husband," said a 35-year-old male participant who declined to be named. "But if I have a child in the future, I want to play a leading role in domestic work and child-rearing."