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A Marriage Celebration in Japan

Today, we bring you another blog post from Motoko, JapanesePod101.com lesson creator, host and Office Party Planner! Motoko will be sharing more bilingual posts on our blog, so check back often and leave a comment!

Hi everyone! Motoko here!

A few weeks ago, we celebrated the marriage of Marvin. He’s part of our Technical Team and is from Germany. The wedding ceremony was held in May – and what’s more, his bride is Japanese!

In Japan, there are all kinds of wedding ceremonies. There’s the traditional Shintō shinzenshiki, which is held at a shrine, and the Buddhist butsuzenshiki, which is held at a temple; there’s also the kyōkaishiki, or church wedding, which has been gaining popularity in recent years. Another more unusual variant is the jinzenshiki, or civil wedding, in which the couple pledge their eternal love in front of the wedding guests, so their gathered family and friends become the witnesses to the marriage.

Do you know how to congratulate someone on their marriage in Japanese? An easy way to say it is:

Go-kekkon omedetō gozaimasu.
‘Congratulations on your marriage.’

Now, this next one is a bit difficult, so I rarely use it, but if you were to write your congratulations formally on a greeting card, you could use the following expression:

Kashoku no ten o shukushi, o-futari no go-takō to go-hatten o o-inori mōshi agemasu.
‘With humble congratulations on your wedding ceremony, and prayers for your great happiness and advancement.’

This is often also accompanied by phrases that mean ‘Please have a long and happy life together’, such as:

Suenagai o-shiawase o o-inori mōshi agemasu.
‘With humble prayers for your many years of happiness.’


Suenagaku o-shiawase ni.
‘Wishing you everlasting happiness.’

On this occasion, we as a company presented Marvin with go-shūgi (gift money). On all kinds of occasions in Japan – such as marriages, births, when someone goes on to a higher level of education, funerals, and so on – it is customary to give a monetary gift to represent one’s feelings. When we present someone with go-shūgi, I think it’s not just saying ‘Congratulations on your marriage!’, but also ‘Please put this towards the wedding and your new life together’. 

What kinds of marriage ceremonies are there in your country? Are there any kinds of special customs like go-shūgi?

A lesson about go-shūgi-bukuro (special envelopes for monetary gifts) can be found here:

Learn Kanji – Everyday Kanji 20 Bonus video


 (ごけっこん おめでとうございます。)
(かしょくの てんを しゅくし、 おふたりの ごたこうと ごはってんを おいのりもうしあげます)
 「末永いお幸せをお祈り申し上げます。」 や
 (すえながい おしあわせを おいのり もうしあげます。)
 (すえながく おしあわせに。)