Japan manga 'geeks' seek love at masked match-making


WASHINOMIYA, Japan (AFP) - Self-confessed geeks in Japan who might ordinarily be too shy to ask someone on a date are trying a new kind of matchmaking: wearing cartoon character masks.

In a small town north of Tokyo, 15 men and an equal number of women donned plastic masks of Doraemon, Mickey Mouse and other fictional creations to try to find a date on Friday.

"I feel this is an easier way to talk to people," said a 27-year-old woman wearing a rabbit mask, who introduced herself as Jet-Black Wings.

"I wouldn't be able to do this without this mask. I would feel too embarrassed." The party, in Washinomiya, was organised for the benefit of otaku - people obsessed with high-tech products, Japan's manga comic books and the anime (cartoons) that sprang from them.