Japan's demographic time bomb: Can a calendar help Otari's single men find love?

Kobayashi, who works in the village office, was instrumental in rounding up the 11 models and says he encountered surprisingly little resistance. “There are very few opportunities to meet young women here – and I speak from experience,” he says.

Kobayashi and the other calendar models are reluctant, though, to go through the upheaval required to take their search farther afield. He partly attributes that to a “village mentality”, but says there are clear advantages to life in this unspoiled corner of northwest Nagano prefecture.

“I went to university in Tokyo and I would get stressed out just taking the subway in the morning,” he says. “Here it’s a totally stress-free existence.”

The calendar lists the models’ professions and hobbies, and a few words about their goals in life and their ideal partner. To date, the village office has received enquiries from eight women, four of whom have followed up by sending in their photographs and profiles.