Increasing number of Japanese ditching traditional attitudes about weddings and funerals

By Jamie Koide, RocketNews24

Multiple studies have shown that Japanese are becoming more skeptical about marriage, with one recent finding showing that one-third of university students, out of over 400 men and women interviewed, had no dreams of ever tying the knot.

Do you want to get married?

32.8% said no and 67.2% said yes. However, even among those participants who said they were looking forward to saying the words “I do” in the future, almost half answered that they plan on skipping the ceremony.

Do you want to have a wedding ceremony?

53.6% said yes and 46.4% said no.

When combined with an additional study that asked 100 men and women over 40 about their attitudes toward funerals, it’s clear that not only young adults, but Japanese society as a whole, is starting to place more and more emphasis on being frugal over keeping up with tradition.

Do you want your family to hold a funeral for you when you pass away?

12.4% said yes, 33.6% said cremation only but no funeral, 39.8% said whatever their family decides is best, and 14.2% said they haven't given it much thought.

According to both studies, money was by far the biggest factor behind most respondents’ answers. With lifetime employment opportunities fading, salaries shrinking, and consumption tax rumored to be increasing, this shouldn’t necessarily come as a surprise.

Despite the relatively small sample sizes, comments from netizens, either for or against marriage and funeral ceremonies, were fairly on par with each survey’s findings, and monetary concerns remained a key discussion point.

“Why drop a lot of money on a wedding ceremony when you could travel instead?” “Wedding ceremonies cost so much. Having one only makes newlywed life harder.” “There’s so much we need to spend money on already that spending money just for the sake of tradition is a waste.” “You don’t need either, and besides, grave markers are also really expensive.” “Funeral → No one would come, Wedding → No one to invite, so neither would be worth it” “Either way you’re just going to turn to dust.” “I hate the atmosphere of weddings. It’s like, ‘Look at me! I’m so happy~’”

Still, some countered by commenting:

“Couples who can’t be bothered with a ceremony usually divorce quickly. It’s important to think about those around you.” “I would love to get married one day.” “Throwing a wedding isn’t something you do for yourself, but so your parents can see you and be proud.” “I want to have a funeral, and hold a proper one for my parents someday, too. As far as wedding ceremonies go, I’d just have one without any frills.” “Not having a proper wedding ceremony seems a little sad.” “Weddings make good memories and funerals are for paying your respects and saying goodbye. Maybe a lot of people disagree, but I think they’re both important.”

If this divide between cost versus culture continues to grow, it’s hard to say exactly what kind of influence it will have on Japanese social practices down the line. While we wouldn’t want to see traditional wedding or funeral practices come, to an end, it would be great if more options were available for people of all backgrounds and budgets.

Sources: ValuePress!, Ameba News via Hamsoku

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Getting married? Love video games? Why not hold your wedding at this Tokyo video arcade! -- This wedding hall in Japan will provide an alpaca to witness you exchange your vows -- Kyoto company starts “Solo Wedding” service for single women who want to be brides for the day

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“Throwing a wedding isn’t something you do for yourself, but so your parents can see you and be proud.” Such a different attitude from the West, where the wedding day is considered the bride's day. Are there bridezilla's in Japan? Anyway, I see nothing wrong with having weddings and funerals, but I don't see the need to do things the traditional way. Your wedding should be something you enjoy, and not just a ceremony you just have to get through. But I can understand people who skip the wedding for financial reasons. After all, it's the marriage that matters the most, not the wedding ceremony.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I find some of these comments really interesting and very telling of Japanese mindset.

The ones I agree with most - the wedding is for the parents. Mine certainly was. My mum's outfit cost twice my dress and most of the people there were HER friends! But she was thrilled and had a blast. She had been planning my wedding day since the moment I was born, and I didn't want to begrudge her that so soon after losing my dad.

Weddings do make good memories. We did the handing in forms at the ward office, and boom we are married, but mum was never going to let me get away with that and in the end I am so glad we did the full ceremony too - lovely memories. Mostly of my pissed up father in law, but still - nice!

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Weddings are fun, so long as they are relaxed affairs. The best wedding I've been to was the Okinawa wedding packing for my brother-in=law. Just the immediate family and their significant others. Good food, intimate, free shuttling around from the chapple, to the fake Italian hotel, to the spa, to the restaurant, etc. Very chill, Everyone had fun. I even enjoyed karaoke.

The worst was my cousins': A big, gaudy affair in a fancy shmancy hotel resort, with too many people wearing way too much make-up, middling to crap food and way too many protestations of everlasting and true love. Nauseating.

As for a funeral, I really couldn't care less, 'cause I'll be dead. Hopefully, if I'm in good health, my body parts can find a new home in someone else, and if not, its scientific experiments for the lot of them.

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I wonder if the opinions of the Japanese about weddings in real life match what directors add in their manga and anime. There are similarities, because in America there are the big wedding ceremonies, the court marriage, cohabitating, or single life for the rest of your life. I wonder what the Japanese think of cohabitating? I feel that people should do what pleases them and their partner or with single life just themselves. Everyone was raised differently and has their own absolute truth. I would love to hear about anyone's experience in Japan or with Japanese people in Japan. I like hearing about these situations,because it makes me happy that people are waking up and thinking for themselves.

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I'd say in the West, while the bride is the central attention of the ceremony, the wedding ceremony itself is for the parents. I told my mom that I didn't really want to do anything, and she informed me that I was, no matter my opinion, because the ceremony is for the sake of the parents. My wife wanted a ceremony, but it was her mother that made it into a grand celebration. We were thinking of something a bit less expensive. However, this is overgeneralizing things, I understand that it depends on the family and individuals.

I understand financial reasons to not hold ceremonies, but

“Funeral → No one would come, Wedding → No one to invite, so neither would be worth it” “Either way you’re just going to turn to dust.” “I hate the atmosphere of weddings. It’s like, ‘Look at me! I’m so happy~’”

These seem to show a more alarming change to the Japanese culture. People just don't seem to want to be happy.

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