Have you ever seen a Japanese style wedding? When most Japanese people think of a Japanese style wedding, they think of wearing Kimono’s and going to a Shinto shrine. However, in more recent times, Japanese style weddings have become extremely varied.
This article will go over the history and style of Japanese style weddings, what type of wedding would be easiest for foreigners to attend, and finally, if you think you're interested in a Japanese style wedding, we’ll recommend a wedding ceremony for you!
Origin of The Japanese Wedding Ceremony
The original purpose of a wedding was to tell god that a couple was married, as described in the oldest known historical record of Japan, the“Kojiki”. The very first two Gods that appeared in Japanese mythology, Izanagi and Izanami, where also the two gods that made the Japanese archipelago. Their wedding ceremony is depicted in a drawing inside the Kojiki, and is one of the first depiction of marriage in Japan.
These two gods spawned the creation of many other gods, created the country of Japan, and lead the country to where it is today; somewhat similarly to the mythology of ancient Greece.
When Was The Ceremony First Performed at a Shinto Alter？
A ceremony that involves summoning the Japanese gods at a Shrine is referred to as “Shizen shiki”, which roughly means “In front of god ceremony”. In the year 1900, Emperor Taisho held this wedding ceremony at the imperial court. He also wanted the common people to witness his wedding, so he went to the Grand Shrine at Ise in Tokyo as well, where the general populous observed this ritual. This started the trend of the “Shizen shiki” ritual being performed at shrines. After Taisho’s ceremony, the practice extended to the whole country, and the ceremony started to be performed at shrines and hotel ballrooms throughout Japan.
What is the Most Popular Style of Wedding in Japan?
Currently, the most popular wedding style in Japan is a Christian style wedding that takes place in a church, where the bride wears a dress and walks down an aisle. However, the Japanese style wedding that takes place at an alter is popular among a wide range of age groups, and large amount of people are able to attend the ceremony. Another popular option is a non-religious ceremony, where the wedding oath isn’t made to the gods like a usual ceremony, but instead is done to the wedding attendees. This is referred to as “Jinmae Shiki” or “In front of people ceremony”.
What Should You Be Aware of When Attending a Japanese Wedding Ceremony?
The first thing to be aware about is that the god summoning ceremony is different depending on the shrine, and could be very difficult depending where it is done. This makes it a good idea to ask the other guest and family if you should attend or not.
However in most cases it’s rather unlikely for anyone who practices a different religion or for someone who is not Japanese to be barred from attending. As long as you are interested and research what to do you should be fine.
Wearing Kimonos and Summoning God is Cool! I Want to Do That!
If you want, you could have your wedding done while wearing traditional Japanese clothes! Some people are even interested in making their wedding oaths to the Japanese gods. Some foreigners who aren’t Japanese residence have flown to Japan just for their wedding.
You can have also have a more traditional Japanese experience, however It’s relatively rare for foreigners to have a ceremony where they wear kimonos and make their oaths to the Japanese deities. It’s also a very formal affair, but most of the attendees will probably enjoy it and find it very interesting!
What do you think About Japanese style weddings? There are many Foreigners who have their ceremony done in the Japanese style. If your interested, I would recommend doing it at a more local shrine, since it’s usually easier to summon the gods of a smaller shrine. You should try to visit your local shrine first; It might be the perfect spot.