Japan By: Caylie Kruse
About Japan • Japan is a large country in the Pacific Ocean. It is part of Asia, with a population of 127,817,277. The two major religions of Japan are Shinto and Buddhism. Japan consists of four main larger islands and more than 4000 smaller islands.
Customs • The engagement consists of the two families coming together for the first time and sharing a meal. During this time, symbolic gifts such as fish, kelp, thread and a folded fan are given in rice paper. This ornate engagement is called the yunio.
Wedding Day • The marriage of two people in traditional Japanese culture is not the union between a man and a woman, but the blending of two families. The two families face each other, while the bride and groom do not. Instead, the bride and groom stand between the families and face forward, while they make an oath to keep faithful and obedient to one another. A Shinto Japanese wedding may also take place at home. During a home ceremony, the bride is given away to the groom. An older couple, called Nakoudo, is responsible for managing the wedding. The bridal couple, dressed in traditional kimonos, is purified, drinks sake, and the groom reads the words of commitment. The priest reads the wedding contract. Rice wine also called sake is given to the guests then poured into 3 different cups. This ceremony is called "SanSanKudo," which means three sets of three sips equals nine. Using the smallest of the cups, the groom takes three sips. Then the bride follows. They do the same with the medium and large cups. At the end of the ceremony, both families drink a cup of sake, which represents the union of the bride and groom and unification of the two families. Drinking the wine is a sign that the marriage vows are sealed.
Who is a Part of The Ceremony • In a Japanese wedding, only the bride and groom’s immediate family attend. The ceremony is given by a Shinto priest.
Bride and Groom In Japan, purple is the color of love. So Japanese women usually wear an embroidered silk kimono covered in purple iris-flowers. Most Japanese weddings are Shinto, during which the natural spirits are called upon to bless the couple, or a Buddhist ceremony where two strings of beads are interwoven, symbolizing the joining of two families into one. Most Japanese men wear a montsuki, which is a black kimono with their family crests on shoulders, and the hakama, which are wide-legged pants.
Attendant Attire • Women attending a Japanese wedding wear kimonos. Young women may wear colorful kimonos with long, flowing butterfly sleeves. Married women wear a more subdued homongikimono to show they are married. And the men traditionally wear western-style suits.
Facts • Purple is the color of love in Japan. • Only immediate family attends ceremony. • Other guests attend the reception. • Japan has become more westernized. • Japan has adopted the honeymoon, exchange of rings, and cake cutting.
Summary • Japanese weddings are very different from American weddings. Most Japanese people wear kimonos whether they’re the bride and groom or the attendants for the wedding. Americans usually invite many, many people to their weddings, whereas Japanese people only have their immediate family attending. Engagements in Japan are also very unique. They attend a family dinner and give symbolic gifts. Japanese weddings seem a lot more complex then American weddings.