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What's a getting married like in Japan?


Crazy Kitty Girl "Meow"
3 Nov 2003
I know this sounds like a stupid question but I know it's different in each country. I want to know what is the difference between a Shinto wedding and a Buddhist wedding if there is any at all. I await your replys. :)
The basic rule is Shinto for happy things, Buddhist for sad things. You are born and married Shinto, die and are remembered Buddhist (until you become a Shinto spirit, but that is a different story). I have heard of Buddhist weddings in Japan, however, they have always been friends of a friend of a uncle who knew a guy who had a firend who had a boss who knew this lady at a bar who had heard of some guy who got married Buddhist:) I have heard being married in a Buddhist style is unlucky.

Recently a very popular style of wedding in Japan is the western wedding/church wedding (no they are probably not Christian) complete with gown changes and spotlights at the reception. If you have ever been, you know what I mean. The wedding industry in Japan is huge. You can buy a package wedding like you do a vaction. I know this wasn't quite what you were after, but typing it kept me out of trouble for a few minutes.
Actually it was very informative. I didnt know buddhist was unlucky and for sad things. When you have time I am interested in what you mean by the Shinto spirit.
Hold on... Buddhism is not unlucky in and of itself, and it is only "sad" taken with relation to the things it addresses (death etc.). Buddhism and Shintoism shouldn't be seen as the yin and yang of Japanese religious thought. I can't be as clear cut as that, though it may appear so at times.

As far as weddings go, Buddhist wedding ceremonies may be considered unlucky because Buddhism's usual role in society is not associated often with the happier moments in life (funerals etc).

What I meant by the "Shinto spirit" was "kami" (are you familiar with that concept? If not, let me know and I'll post again about it too). I was using in in realtion to one of the points where Shintoism and Buddhism touch, and where Shinto is not always concerned with only the happy times in life.

When you (meaning most Japanese Buddhists) die, according to the rites and practices of your Buddhist, sect you are ushered into the afterworld. There you are an ancestor and will be venerated by your surviving family members. After a great length of time (used to be about 55 to 100 years after you died) your memorial tablet having your fancy buddhist name on it, that has been in the family "butsudan" (a fancy space where your name tablet has been placed and where many rites of ancestor veneration take place), is removed and you become a "kami." Mainly this happens after no one in the family has a living memory of you. So now, your spirit has made the jump from buddhism and the "butsudan" to shinto and the "kamidana" (god-shelf) and you will continue to be venerated as one of the nameless shinto kami lost to the mists of time. However, compaired to Buddhism, any acts of veneration if any will be much less fancy and not accompanied by much ceremony.

This is a very simplified version of things and I have made some big jumps for the sake of clarity (isn't that clear, is it...). Also different sects and families may have different ways of doing things. Sorry to clutter up your wedding thread.
I am not familair with the concept of kami. I dont mind you taking up space cause this is all very interesting information since I have been thinking of switching religions. It's interesting how they focus on keeping the memory of those who died.
Keep in mind that Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Tibetan, and American(some will argue there is no such thing)/others are very different from one another. Even Japanese Buddhism in America will not be the same as it is in Japan. Research carefully, baring epiphany:) Good luck!
What is divorce like for foreign nationals

If you are thinking about marrying a Japanese lady, then do so with the full knowledge that if divorce in the future happens, and you are a foreign national and you have children; then you have little rights after the judge gives your child to the Japanese partner; which happens in 99.9% of all cases.

Note, you may have a valid order from the courts to see your children, but this is not enforceable in Japan. Also, note that in Japan they allow children to be taken from other nations and the legal rights of the foreign national once they are in Japan is virtually zero.

Not all mixed marriages end like this, and if your partner is fine and allows you to see your children, then you will not have a problem - but you will not be covered by an enforceable law.

I can supply a website address about this if needed.

I know your question was about marriage - but just in case, I have told you about divorce instead.

Hey, now that is bad luck, talking about divorce before concentrating on marriage!!!
That's interesting. But what if the mother is the foreigner would they let the dad have the kids instead. I wouldn't mind the link. Also I heard that in japan girls can get married at 16 is that true?
I didn't have time to read all of the pages you listed, Jihadjay, but out of curiosity, what about a pre-nuptuial saying divorce will be handled in a different court according to the laws of a country with more balanced laws (for example, a divorce being handled in a US court)? It seems that this kind of agreement prior to children, almost a contractual obligation in a pure sense, can't be ignored by Japanese Family Court. Well, it could, but it would seem that a foreign parent would have a lot more ground to stand on if the other parent tried to escape by running to the courts in Japan.

This may work, however, what happens if the Japanese spouse states that the children were harmed by the foreign national or had neglected the child - even if this is false, the courts will have power to overturn this, for circumstances will have changed -

I only know of one national winning his children back, but he had to spend more than $250,000 US dollars - and he had a lot going for him with regards to his own individual case - apart from that I only know of one visitation case being implemented.

Thefore, hundreds if not thousands of nationals have no hope or very little hope.

If Japan becomes a permanent member of the UN, then this may change; but until now they have resisted change, and governments like Canada have rebuked Japan about this.
Is it easy for two people of different religions to marry or would one have to convert?
Not unless they require it for personal or religious reasons. Japan is very flexible when it comes to religious issues. Hence the comfort with believing and participating in Buddhist and Shinto rites. There are sects that are exclusive in the sense that they try and get their followers stick only to their rites, but usually you won't be excommunicated if you say, perform Buddhist memorial rites for your dead grandfather even if you are something else.

Japan has a clause in its constitution granting freedom of religion, so there is no clause that says both people must be of the same religion. It is up to the individuals involved.
I will be getting married in Japan in 2005 ansd my Fiance wants a Shinto ceremony. Will i as a foreigner have any problems with the ceremony itself as my Japanese is still only conversational level? I've heard the ceremony is quite complicated.
Thanks neptunemoon!:)
I've studied Japanese culture for a while now even since before i met my spouse and i attended a shinto wedding with her a few months back and was really overwhelmed with the whole thing.:p
It was actually very calming! it was a great way to see what i'm in for!:) although i think it'll be different when it's me, i'm paranoid about doing something wrong:sorry:
Too much of a cowincidence(sic) ...

Zero-sen, your wife to be wouldn't live in L.A. and have a sister named Ryoko???


No Frank, sorry:sorry: My future wife's back home in Fukuoka right now, has been for a few weeks now:( I'm assuming there was a wedding in your neighbourhood recently?
No. my friend's sister....

is engaged to a Scotish guy. Thought it would be a mind blower if it were you !!! Fukuoka was a terrific city 30 years ago, wish I could go back !!


Yeah that'd be mad!! when i go over this year (hopefully march) it'll be my first time in fukuoka. And also my first time with the whole family, so really nervous to say the least!!:giggle:
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