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Marriage in Japan


21 Apr 2004
Here's yet another curiosity about Japan: A country where only 1% profess to be Christian, yet 80% of marriages use a Christian wedding ceremony.

You've heard about this phenomenon; now read all about it on this new site!

Is it for real?

Seen your site 👍 , but is it for real? :?

I mean, are these weddings legal in Japan? :?

And where's the logic:
If only 1 percent are Christians in Japan and 80 percent of marriages are Christian based, where do all the priests come from? Does the Catholic church send thousand of priests just to do weddings? :?

Something doesn't fit!

As you suspected, Pete- most of the men acting as a priest are doing just that - acting. Most of these weddings are not done in real churches or by real members of the clergy. They work for the company that hired them. Most often, they can speak Japanese clearly enough and with enough conviction to make the grade.

Also, all weddings in Japan are civil weddings. You must go to the city hall to be married. All this is handing in a paper with all the right stamps on it to the correct clerk. No swearing or all that jazz. Anything beyond that at a shrine, church, or ballroom that the couple wants to do is up to them.

The buildings are not real churches. Often they are a room in a multi-storied wedding complex that can host multiple wedding parties simultaneously. These places give what the buyer wants; Disney and Hollywood for a day.

Weddings in Japan are huge productions staged down to the last detail. Spotlights, dramatic entrances and exits, bubbles, smoke machines and all the rest of it can be had for a price. You can add on extras till you break the bank.

Since a Christian style wedding is so popular, as John said, the price is lower. Simple economics. The dress rental is cheaper, often the food is western-style (cheaper), and the venues, in all honesty, pretty dang borning (no windows or nice views). I have no idea of the total cost, and it runs from inexpensive to very expensive, of course. But my wife and I had a Japanese style (minus any religious overtones, including Shinto) for 40 people, and it ran to about 30,000 USD. You do the math. Japanese style is expensive!
I've already told my fiancee that if I'm going to get married in a church, it won't be here in Japan...

So she started looking up places to go to and decided that Easter Island would be a rather nice place. My girl's weird!
New page

Thanks for replying for me Mandylion. And thanks Pete also for prompting me to add a new page to the site.

As many of you'll have experienced, building a website leads on to finding all sorts of interesting stuff. Trying to decide what to include and what to omit is tricky and I keep changing my mind.

As with many things, you just have to call it a day, say sod it and post what you have.

So here it is:

and an annexe page:

They should answer a few of your queries Pete, but if not, please write to me directly if you want.

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