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Japan’s wedding gift etiquette rule too expensive, young people in survey say

By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Japan doesn’t have wedding gift registries. That’s because the expectation is that when guests come to celebrate the newlywed couple, they’ll give cash instead of, say, a toaster or coffeemaker. On the one hand, this saves you the trouble of having to go shopping if you get invited to a wedding. However, the rules of etiquette are pretty clear on how much you’re supposed to give: 30,000 yen.

That might not seem too steep for a close friend or relative, but 30,000 is the expectation regardless of your relationship to the bride and groom. Moderately friendly coworker? 30,000 yen. Old college classmate you’ve sort of drifted apart from? 30,000 yen. Oh, and that’s 30,000 yen per person in your party; if you’re attending the wedding as a couple, you and your significant other are each supposed to give that much.

Those factors muddy the waters as to whether or not 30,000 yen is too much, so to get a better feel for attendees’ opinions, Rexit, an online wedding planning portal, conducted an Internet survey, collecting responses from 361 men and women, 38.7 percent of whom were between the ages of 20 and 29. When those 20-somethings were asked “Do you think 30,000 yen is expensive for a wedding gift?” 64.3 percent said “Yes, that’s expensive.”

Image: Pakutaso

With the current weak value of the yen versus foreign currencies, 30,000 yen may not sound like all that much when converted into U.S. dollars. However, to illustrate that 30,000 yen is nothing to sneeze at for those getting paid in yen, 2023 statistics from Japan’s national tax agency shows that the average income in Japan for people aged 20 to 24 is 2,730,000 yen, and for those 25 to 29 it’s 3,890,000. What’s more, when the 20-to-29-year-old respondents in the survey were asked how much of their income they put into savings, 73 percent said they save 30,000 yen or less monthly.

Savings per month

● No savings: 19 percent

● Under 5,000 yen: 15 percent

● 5,000-10,000 yen: 18 percent

● 10,000-30,000 yen: 21 percent

● 30,000-50,000 yen: 10 percent

● 50,000-70,000 yen: 7 percent

● Over 70,000 yen: 10 percent

The financial strain can be especially tough for young Japanese people if they have a series of friends or other social acquaintances all getting married in their 20s, especially if they’re clustered around the same time in fall and spring, the popular wedding seasons.

There are a few silver linings to all this. One is that, in keeping with traditional Japanese gift-giving customs, the bride and groom will often give some sort of “in-return gift” to their guests, such as fancy confectioneries, hand towels, or tableware, as a token of their appreciation. Another is that partially due to the expected 30,000 yen, Japanese spouses-to-be are often a little more selective with their wedding guest list. It’s understood that the invitation comes bundled with a financial burden, so you’re unlikely to get invited to, say, your second cousin’s daughter’s wedding three prefectures over. And last, there’s no social stigma about showing up to a wedding dateless in Japan, so you’re unlikely to get roped into going along to a wedding for your significant other’s acquaintance who you’ve got no personal connection to, since they can just go by themselves.

Still, even with all that, 30,000 yen feels like a lot to the 20-somethings who responded to the survey, so it’s likely that even though they’re being sincere when they tell the bride and groom “Congratulations!”, deep down inside they’re probably also thinking “Man, this is costing a lot.”

Source: PR Times

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- What’s the minimum amount of money Japanese women want their husbands to earn? Survey investigates

-- Is the wedding bouquet toss a form of harassment? Some Japanese women say “Yes”

-- Pay for guests’ transport? The many potential pitfalls in the Japanese wedding planning minefield

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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That is one invitation you definitely don’t want to see in your mailbox.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

When my wife and myself got married, we asked our guests to simply contribute what they could to a donation box that we set up for a charity that was important to us.

Is that the norm in Japan? Nope. And a few of our guests were slightly taken back by the change of custom. But my wife and myself didn't have any monetary needs nor wants, only that we wanted our wedding day to be a day of celebration with our families and closest friends (without them having to worry about any financial burden).

12 ( +13 / -1 )

With a large family in the UK and key members of the Japanese side unable to travel, we didn't bother with a wedding, and I think it was one of the best decisions we ever made. We did, however, have a series of great meals in both countries with all the important people. We celebrated our marriage, but we didn't need to spend much on venues other than the cost of some meals. More often than not, our friends and family decided to pay for the meals as a treat, and all went home happy. They are still treasured memories, we took lots of pictures, we ate well, we socialized, and we didn't have to burden anyone (including ourselves) with high costs. I recommend this to all!

14 ( +14 / -0 )

With articles like this, you get the proof that Japan is no longer a rich country. When 65% mention that 30,000¥ is very expensive for a wedding, and people are not able to save even 10,000¥ from month to month, there is some serious problem.

The currency crash, the huge inflation, and no signs that the Economy will ever recover, as long as the current incompetent dinosaurs are running the country, it is all the proof you ever need.

Long are the times from the bubble era, when salaries had 2 or 3 times the value they currently have nowadays...

-10 ( +7 / -17 )

The last wedding we attended cost us about ¥100,000 for gifts, new suits, and clothes, but we had no regrets since we loved the bride very much and played a major part.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Last wedding I went to for a friend cost my a Shinkansen ticket to Osaka from Tokyo and the 30,000 yen gift that is standard, and I had to give a toast. I did not enjoy the long time sitting at a big table with strangers, the obligatory speeches and the mandatory waiting to eat and drink. I think I will only attend in the future for my children and nephews.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Ignorant but honest question, can you opt out of an invitation? There isn't a binding rule that you have to attend like you're being summoned to court, right? I would decline if being invited means paying out several days' worth of living expenses, be it from a friend or from a not so close person.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

When my wife and I got married, we didn't have a ceremony. Just a trip to the City Hall to sign some papers. It was my second marriage and her first, but neither of us wanted the attention. We saved a lot of money, and I have recieved over ¥100,000 from my employer and private insurance just for getting married. Kids are hopefully on the way so we need to save all the money we can. Hopefully we don't get any wedding invites in the near future, but as long as the drinks are free, I don't mind spending the money for the experience.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

You can decline a wedding invite but it would also depend on how important the relationship is to you.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I would not consider an "in-return gift" as a "silver lining".

2 ( +3 / -1 )

My wedding mostly consisted of my wife's friends because all my friends live abroad. I didn't want them to pay anything for our wedding since they are welcomed guests to an even we are hosting. So my guess is that since we didn't have anyone pay for our wedding, those "friends" will not expect that dreaded 30,000 yen goshugi right? Wrong! So because they came to our wedding, my wife had to go to theirs, and still pay the stupid goshugi! Unbelievable! Who came up with this stupid rule? The greedy wedding planning industry?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Part of the problem is also that when you are that age when people around you get married, quite a few tend to get married close together in time. So you could get invited to 3 or 4 weddings in a year, meaning that you have to pay 90,000 or 120,00 yen just to attend all your friends weddings.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Never heard the ¥30,000 rule! It depends on who is getting married and where!

But the who is really the key!

I don't know anyone that isn't close that has ever invited my wife me to the actual wedding!

A "former classmates" as described in the article is usually not invited to the main event, usually that is and should be reserved for family and very close friends!

Usually there is a second party less formal usually in a restaurant and the cost us usually the set menu and a little extra!

If a long lost former classmates or acquaintance ever did invite us, we would probably decline the invitation!

The problem isn't the gift amount, it is the expectations of the people getting married.

Some want a fancy expensive wedding in some expensive venue and expect to invite a load of people and know that everyone knows it is an expensive venue so they expect the guest to fork over a larger amount.

I have a wedding to attend soon and it will be in an SFD hall so no ¥30,000 is expected as few guess could actually afford to give that much on their SFD salaries.

I have declined quite a few invitations over the years especially destination weddings.

Invitations to weddings in Hawaii and Okinawa when the couple are not from there or living there are a no go, not spending the money!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

What is an SFD Hall?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I've been to 10 weddings in Japan which comes out to 300,000 yen for me. I enjoyed being a part of my friends and co-workers blissful union but it was quite a lot of money each time.

I think they should introduce a tiered system. 30,000 for close family and the well-off. 20,000 yen for close friends. 10,000 yen for lower income or not-so-close acquaintances.

At our receiption, we had everyone pay 5,000 yen and had a big party at a restaurant we rented out. The only speech at the reception was, "Thanks for coming everyone. Let's eat!!"

5 ( +5 / -0 )

It was 25 years ago but we asked for 10,000 yen a head. It didn't cover the food and drink. We did get married at a resort in the countryside, so people had the cost of going there to attend.

I have a bigger problem with the "hiki-demono" return gift. And with all the stupid souvenirs you get (and have to pay for) at sport events like marathons and kids' tournaments. We have several pairs of goblets, cake plates, weird shaped vases etc that we received and have never used as hiki-demono and a collection of weird shaped towels, t-shirts etc. from sports events. It's all effectively gomi. For hiki-demono, you usually get a catalogue now, which is an improvement on the past, but its still an unnecessary expense.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I assume Self Defense Force.

1 ( +1 / -0 )


May 15 05:36 pm JST

What is an SFD Hall?

Sorry mistyped


Jonathan Prin

Today 02:49 am JST

I assume Self Defense Force


1 ( +1 / -0 )

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