Koiji Finds Matches Based On Why Questions

Women's Dating

Koiji Finds Matches Based on Core Values and ‘Why’ Questions

Chloë Hylkema

Written by: Chloë Hylkema

Chloë Hylkema

Chloë Hylkema loves using her writing skills to tell stories that matter. Her time as an English student at Emory University molded her into a detailed writer with a knack for the relatable. Chloë is familiar with what it means to date in the modern age, and she endeavors to write material that is both truthful and helpful. She has previously worked as lead campaign writer for an animal advocacy group and now brings her passion for engaging and actionable content to DatingAdvice.com.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

Discuss This! Discuss This!

The Short Version: Dating apps with a one-size-fits-all approach are playing a numbers game. The idea is to be as broad as possible in finding reasons to match users. Some may even use imprecise pseudoscience to put people together. Koiji is a new app that does things differently. Koiji’s 37-question matching system skirts superficial commonalities to get to the sometimes counterintuitive reasons people think and feel the way they do. With Koiji, matches are more genuine, and relationships are more heartfelt and lasting.

Those first few moments after meeting someone new are exciting. Love and romance heighten the senses with anticipation of adventure and new horizons.

The pressure of presenting your best self without appearing inauthentic can be scary when you’re looking for something serious. Even if a lasting relationship is the last thing on your mind, the introductory phase is probably not the best time to fly your imperfections on a flag.

Many dating apps try to remove the guesswork by matching people according to what they have in common. Some matching methodologies are more ambitious than others. But the point behind them all is to settle on terms and let shared ideas form the basis of a bond.

But if we can’t agree on anything else, we can undoubtedly agree that relationships are scientifically tricky. Just because an app has a matching methodology doesn’t make it the law of the universe.

That’s why Koiji, a brand-new dating app from a London-based team led by Founder and CEO Alexander Mitchell, is arriving like a breath of fresh air. It’s the product of six years of philosophical and psychological research to delve deeper than any app ever has into relationship rationales.

Just because two people discover they both want a family doesn’t mean they want one for the same reasons. Koiji (which means love path in Japanese) uses a 37-item questionnaire to understand the “why” questions behind personal preferences. If you’re looking for an app to connect with purpose and bond with someone over shared values, Koiji is for you.

“When we looked at the market, we saw a lot of pseudoscience,” Alexander said. “We help you tell people who you are as a person.”

Perceived Versus Genuine Compatibility

If dating apps always worked as intended, you’d never need to use one more than once unless that was your thing. Koiji isn’t meant for casual use. It’s for people looking for the “one who feels like home,” the Koiji website states. It’s for people searching for long-term love.

“It’s about understanding people for who they fundamentally are,” Alexander said.

We mean it when we say Koiji is brand-new. Koiji had just emerged from beta testing as of spring 2024, when this article went to press. Early access was available on the homepage to users who signed up with an email address.

Alexander and the team have initiated a Substack and posted an article about Koiji’s development. The app has a developing presence on Instagram and a company page on LinkedIn. The gist is that Koiji allows people to start a relationship with a conversation, not with a swipe.

“Genuine compatibility is based not on shared opinions but values,” Alexander said. Those are the compatibilities the “why” questions address.

Koiji is bringing a fresh approach to online dating.

“Two people can be incompatible despite sharing a number of opinions in common,” according to the Koiji Substack article. “This is because the most important determinant of compatibility is in the reason you have for holding the opinion you do.”

For example, a religious and a nonreligious person may agree on the desire to have a family for entirely different reasons. If a couple with those characteristics married, they’d also likely agree on what values to instill in a child.

But answering the child’s “why” question would expose the self-deception at the heart of the relationship and leave the couple vulnerable. That’s why superficial dating apps often fall short.

“As the relationship goes on, the why becomes more important,” Alexander said.

Questionnaire Dives Into Deep Motivations

On the other hand, Alexander said perceived incompatibility isn’t as bad as many people think either. Two people contemplating a relationship may disagree on an issue or preference. But they may see eye to eye if they take a similar analytical approach to arrive at their position.

That’s what allows some couples to bridge religious or political differences. Those may seem superficial when there’s a genuine foundation grounded in philosophical or psychological commonalities.

Alexander said the Koiji questionnaire covers core values in morality, politics, relationships, and personal matters. The app frames the questions as propositions, with the answer options always to agree or disagree.

Questions range from ostensibly mundane explorations of life’s purpose to much more polarizing topics. Even the mundane questions explore the depths.

Koiji’s questionnaire creates in-depth profiles.

For example, suppose a Koiji member indicates that her life’s purpose is to achieve happiness through service. In that case, Koiji wants to understand the nature of the service and its constituency or motivating factor.

The Koiji member can’t be vague and declare a general desire to serve people. Koiji wants to know the target in granular detail: service to family, nation, etc. Meanwhile, polarizing questions dealing with issues like abortion ask Koiji members to choose among ethical reasons for and against.

“These are extensive questions that give us a deep dive into the why,” Alexander said. “We’re not squeamish about what we ask.”

The questions insinuate that Koiji members can find love that lasts only by discovering and revealing what drives them and why. Every Koiji member must answer every question before appearing on the app.

“It’s really to the point,” Alexander said. “It has to be to work.”

A Dating App With a Human Touch

Koiji emerged from beta testing with a slew of positive comments from testers. Alexander said the main feedback the team received was that users saw the value in the product after completing the questionnaire — before experiencing the app’s UI/UX. Ninety-eight percent of beta testers completed the questionnaire.

“To us, that’s great because it means the perceived value is high,” Alexander said.

Users commented that they thought Koiji allowed them to assess potential connections with minimal guesswork. They could offer deep thoughts about things that were important to them, which made using it much more enjoyable. Beta testers matched through Koiji often progressed to substantive, fulfilling conversations in days.

The team structured Koiji for growth using a novel architecture. Koiji members receive access to a shareable profile link. Recipients who click the link immediately open the sender’s profile on a web app.

Koiji focuses on true compatibility rather than superficial characteristics.

“Recipients can start answering the questions, and senders can see their compatibility with them,” Alexander said. “We help our members understand who they’re compatible with in other apps and even among current dating partners.”

That means Koiji can tap into any other app network worldwide. Online products typically safeguard their value. The Koiji team wants to decentralize profiles so users can take them anywhere, online or offline.

Alexander said Koiji exemplifies individuation — distinguishing an individual from everyone else — and personalization in dating apps, which the industry needs. Applying rigorous scientific principles to assess compatibility may not be for everyone, but those who want it know who they are.

Koiji helps those individuals — for whom an app may seem a last resort — cut through the clutter to get to the heart of what makes them and their prospective partners tick.
“We’re fundamentally concerned with fixing the problem,” Alexander said.