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 el 17 Mar 2009 por Ayumi Nakai

The Japanese Wedding

Western customs combine with local traditions and the highlight of the wedding is the speech.

Online game where brides and grooms can share their wedding speeches
Online game where brides and grooms can share their wedding speeches
Online game where brides and grooms can share their wedding speeches Western-style Japanese wedding Traditional Japanese-style wedding Some gifts for guests of a wedding The more your parents cry during your speech, the more points you get The type of food served at weddings A wedding abroad
Weddings are an important moment in life for the Japanese. The celebration is a long process and is full traditional details. However, there are also strong influences from the West.

Omiai Celebration
Omiai means marrying through an intermediary who is in charge of finding a single woman and organizing a date with the right man. If you end up getting married, you have to pay the intermediary. Currently, these intermediaries have been replaces by dating services. They used to be quite common, although nowadays couples tend to prefer marrying for love.

What isYuinou?
It’s a ceremony in which engagement gifts are exchanged with both future-spouses’ families present. In addition to these gifts, the groom’s family usually gives the bride’s family a sum of money equal to 2 or 3 times the groom’s monthly salary. The Yuinou is still celebrated in Japan today.

Eastern and Western style weddings in Japan
Wedding in Japan have become Westernized. One survey shows that 64% of the weddings celebrated in 2008 were Christian-style weddings, while only 18% of them were traditional Japanese weddings. And even in traditional Japanese weddings you see Western influences such as the exchange of rings or serving Western-style food.

It’s not at all uncommon to marry in both styles. One Japanese friend of mine decided to celebrate both weddings, but she said it was a bit stressful. She was still wearing white make-up from the Japanese celebration on her face while getting dressed for the Western-style ceremony. She had to hire two people help her with her make-up so that while one of them took the white make-up off her face, the other one could start putting Western-style make up on her.

There are churches in Japan that are used only to celebrate weddings and, of course, wherever there’s a church, there have to be priests. It’s quite common for foreigners living in Japan to hold down a second job as a member of the clergy.

Guests always receive a bunch of gifts at weddings. Sweets, dinnerware, a set of teas, kitchen utensils, wines and champagne, watches... Lately, it’s quite common to receive a catalogue so you can choose whatever gift you like.

The speech: the wedding’s highlight
The Japanese wedding is filled with tears of joy. The most moving and crucial moment in a wedding is when the bride and groom read their speeches, which are dedicated to their families. The aim is to make their parents cry.

There’s an online game where can enter their speeches in a competition. If your parents are moved by your words, their tears are collected in the "glass of precipitation". I managed to make them cry with the phrase: "Thank you for having taken care of me". But when I played, "I will never see you again", the sound of the rock music made darlings angry. You can check it out here.

Certain words are taboo or banned in the Japanese wedding: separation, cutting, ending, breaking, suffering... etc. This sometimes makes writing a speech is difficult, since you have to avoid using those words in any context whatsoever.

Weddings abroad
Lately, it’s become fashionable to marry abroad. 6.3% of all weddings are celebrated outside Japan, in places as exotic as Hawai, Micronesia or Australia. Couples decide to marry abroad because they consider it very romantic and also because it’s relatively inexpensive, since they can begin their honeymoon right after the ceremony. Guests at these weddings tend to be limited to the bride and grooms relatives and closest friends.

Japanese wedding, a big business
Japanese weddings have a reputation as being very expensive. In 2008, the average amount spent on a wedding was 4.2 million yen (€33,500 / ,800). Although gifts received from guests usually cover about half that amount, it’s still an important expenditure for the bride and groom and their parents.

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