Sunday, October 14, 2012
Japanese Wedding Chapel
Many Japanese people get married in purpose built marriage complexes, which have reception rooms, banqueting halls, and a wedding chapel which is not a real chapel but a room decorated in such a way as to appear similar to a Western church. Western "celebrants" are employed to performs the role of a priest, giving a presentation in both Japanese and English to give the proceedings an authentic, Western, Christian effect. The organ and the roof vaulting were painted in but, complete with hymns and bible readings, the atmosphere and appearance was definitely church-like. The company that I know of that that supplies celebrants to wedding chapels takes its role seriously and demands that celebrants be theists and believers in the importance of holy matrimony. They insist upon not only appearance but also the message of Christianity.
Until the influence of the West arrived in Japan there was no ritual to celebrate marriage. In place of marriage ceremonies, there was a celebration of the arrival of the bride in the ancestral home and a celebration of the first shrine visiting of newborn children since it was the vertical relationships that are holy and associated with ritual in Japan, rather than the horizontal, romantic ones. That does not, of course, mean that Japanese couples don't love each other. Far from it.
Having made this 'documentary' I was feeling a little removed from the proceedings, and was surprised to see that one of the older gentlemen in the back grow opposite me was crying. "Why is this gentleman so moved?" I thought. Then I realised, that he was one of the bride's grandparents, of which there were but three in attendance, and that he was there on his own. At which point, I started crying too. Love lives on in Japan.
Labels: japan, japanese culture, nihonbunka, Shinto, 日本文化
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This blog represents the opinions of the author, Timothy Takemoto, and not the opinions of his employer.