Nou Cami

Weddings (kekkon) in Japan

Although Japanese marriages have a tendency to a Western style, traditional Shinto weddings are still very present in Japan.

Before 1960 the arranged marriage (miai) had a purpose of utility and interest. Consequently, the Japanese got married with people of the same social class. Nevertheless, nowadays love marriages constitute the majority of the celebrations.

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Photo of my grandparents’ wedding in 1937 in Kobe.

The wedding ceremony has changed a lot and today there is an awesome mixture of tradition and modernity.

Many Japanese weddings take place in autumn, but summer and spring are also very popular. Japanese people traditionally look at the Chinese calendar to choose the best date for the union.

Shinto marriages (Shinzen Kekkon) always take place after the civil marriage, which is very simple and quick. In the traditional Shinto wedding ceremony the bride dresses with a white kimono with long sleeves (Shiromuku) and “zori” sandals. On the other hand, the garment of the groom is simpler and sober.

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After the Shinto ceremony the reception and the meal take place and the bride will dress with a coloured kimono.

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In some cases the day ends with an after party where the newlyweds invite more people. In this celebration the bride and groom dress more comfortably.

Weddings in Japan are very expensive. The tradition is to offer money in a special envelope called “Shugibukuro”. The guests offer money to cover the expenses of the wedding but especially to help the bride and groom start their life together.

Thanks a lot Satomi for these lovely pictures of your wedding!


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