Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Japanese Wedding c. 1995

The wedding, last month, took place in a Western-style building that resembles a castle and towers over this town northeast of Tokyo. One of the Tamahimeden chain of wedding palaces, it can stage 48 ceremonies and receptions in a weekend. It has a staff of more than 20 chefs, consisting of three teams one specializing in Japanese, one in Chinese and one in Western cuisine. It is equipped with a shrine for Shinto ceremonies and a separate chapel for Christian ceremonies, complete with a German pipe organ and French stained glass...

At the wedding there were eight speeches, lasting about half an hour, including one by the head of the local chamber of commerce and another by a member of the local assembly. It is not unusual at Japanese weddings for speeches to take up the greater part of the reception.

A variety of functions at the wedding are assigned to people important to the couple in their business and community lives. In a case where a bridegroom works at a large company, his department chief often officiates at the wedding as a nakodo, or go-between, whose speech gives a sort of secular blessing to the couple.
The 1954 Japanese film, Gojira (Godzilla in English), was an indirect commentary on the tension between traditional Japanese ideas about marriage and more modern ones.

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