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Lesson Transcript

Sakura: 日本文化レッスンでございます。さくらです。
Yoshi: よしです。
Peter: Peter here. Japanese culture class #24. As always, brought to you by Erklaren, the translation and interpretation specialists. We are back with Sakura san and Yoshi san to talk about weddings.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: Finally part 2.
Sakura: Finally.
Yoshi: Finally.
Sakura: It’s been a long time.
Peter: Too long.
Sakura: ねぇ。
Peter: But we sent Yoshi now to 九州 to do some research.
Yoshi: はい。Yes.
Peter: Now you went to wedding right?
Yoshi: Uhoo..
Sakura: あ、本当?
Yoshi: はい。いってきました。
Peter: So he is going to tell us all about that plus we are going to incorporate it into today’s lesson. How does that sound Sakura san?
Sakura: いいですね。 I like it.
Peter: I like it too.
Sakura: はい。

Lesson focus

Peter: Now so why don’t we start off? Last time, we got up to the betrothal gifts which in Japanese, how do we say that?
Sakura: 結納
Peter: Sakura san, can you tell us about this?
Sakura: 結納 is formal engagement in Japanese style, traditional style and traditionally the purpose was for the groom to be to bring money and gifts to the bride to be to prepare for the wedding and in old days, a go between called 仲人 used to go to groom to be’s house and get the money or gift and bring it over to bride to be’s house and then the return. It’s called 結納返し。返し is return. Yes so 仲人 used to go to each other’s house.
Peter: And what percent did he or she get for that?
Sakura: They later get something.
Peter: Oh I bet they do.
Sakura: Yes but nowadays, it’s more simplified, modern style of 結納 and its popular for the two families to meet at the restaurant and exchange the gifts and money there.
Peter: Now when you say gifts, what kind of gifts we will be talking about. You said money.
Sakura: Yes money and traditional items as well in formal 結納. They have nine item set or seven item set of these symbolic items. They are all odd numbers because odd numbers are lucky in Japan right?
Peter: I’ve heard that.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: Can we ask what you got?
Sakura: I didn’t do 結納.
Peter: Ah!
Sakura: Yes but….
Peter: Well I think that tells us something right there that this is a bit of a traditional.
Sakura: そうですね。
Peter: Custom.
Sakura: Yes it’s quite popular now as well for families to you know care about like traditional things and I think it depends on the region as well.
Yoshi: I think so too. It depends on like where you live if you are in Tokyo area or if you are in Kansai like Osaka Nagoya area, it’s all different.
Sakura: Yes.
Yoshi: Like what you give and receive.
Peter: Do you think the western part is more traditional?
Yoshi: No I think it’s all traditional.
Peter: So you find people practicing customs in both locations?
Yoshi: Right.
Peter: A nice spread, evenly spread across Japan.
Yoshi: Uhoo…
Peter: All right.
Sakura: And as an alternative to 結納 many couples do 顔合わせ which is the first time the families meet.
Peter: And where would they have these kind of meetings?
Sakura: At the restaurant or at…
Peter: The restaurants are really popular.
Sakura: Yes or…
Peter: Can I just ask you – any specific kind of restaurant?
Sakura: ああ、なんか...
Peter: Venice.
Sakura: いいレストラン。
Yoshi: Not Venice.
Sakura: Like Japanese traditional – Japanese traditional cuisine place or….
Peter: With the Tatami….
Sakura: Yes, yes, yes, yes or it can be western as well but just it’s like high class.
Peter: And the dress for this occasion is also very formal. You are not going to show up in T-Shirt and Jeans.
Sakura: For 顔合わせ?
Peter: Yeah.
Sakura: ああ、そうね。 Semiformal かな。
Peter: Defined semiformal.
Yoshi: I think it all depends on…
Sakura: Yeah maybe yes, yes.
Yoshi: The family or the people who are getting married but I think they still tend to like be a little more classier than usual.
Peter: Than our dress code at japanesepod101.com
Sakura: そうだね。 Definitely ね。そう。 so people now-a-days choose between 結納 or 顔合わせ. I think they ask their parents as well which they want to do. They care about you know traditions more so…
Peter: Can you have both? Can you have 顔合わせ and 結納?
Sakura: I would say so yes.
Peter: All right.
Sakura: You can if you want.
Peter: Tell us more. All right, tell us more, tell us more.
Sakura: And then shall we go on to the wedding day?
Peter: I don’t know.
Sakura: Oh I forgot. When you are doing 結納 the gift may include the engagement ring.
Peter: Oh really?
Sakura: Yes. It may or may not but it’s often included in the 結納 gifts.
Peter: So when you propose, you show the girl the ring and then you are like, well you are going to get this on a different day.
Sakura: Yes. Sometimes in this ceremony, even if the man has given the woman the ring already, they use it again like – as you know, of course money you know for ceremony purpose.
Peter: I heard that Japanese women have two rings.
Sakura: Engagement ring and marriage ring.
Peter: Yeah is that true?
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: And they keep the nicer one at home.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: Yeah.
Sakura: Yes but not always. Like me, I only have marriage ring but yeah it’s typical for Japanese women to get engagement ring which is more expensive with diamond.
Peter: The big diamond.
Sakura: Yes. ダイヤモンドだよね。 yeah I think.
Yoshi: 多分。
Sakura: Umm and marriage ring is like plain simple ring usually.
Peter: Just symbolic of the marriage.
Sakura: そう。
Peter: Now Sakura san, let me ask you, when you did, did you do 顔合わせ?
Sakura: 顔合わせ, yes.
Peter: What kind of clothing did you wear?
Sakura: Suit, suit!
Peter: You wore suit too?
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: Not a Kimono?
Sakura: No, no, no, no…..If it was 結納 I would have maybe, maybe yeah but…
Peter: Maybe?
Sakura: Umm そうそう。スーツとか、あとワンピースとか。 I like dress.
Peter: Yeah. Not the comic.
Sakura: No, no, no…
Peter: Here is the comic books we got, right. So Sakura san, tell us all about the wedding ceremonies.
Sakura: Yes so on the wedding ceremony day, usually you have the ceremony and after that banquet. So I will first talk about ceremony right. In Japan, the wedding ceremony can be done in various styles.
Peter: For example.
Sakura: 教会 Christian style, 教会 is church.
Peter: And that would consist of the priest walking down the aisle.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: The daughter giveaway. Can I say – how can I put that? Father walking the daughter down the aisle…
Sakura: Yes, yes, yes…
Peter: The best man and – but the differing point is there is no mass in a traditional catholic style wedding or a Christian style wedding which you probably say Christian style wedding, there is usually mass. Most people don’t know that. So it’s kind of you have mass, then you have the ceremonies and so it’s kind of a hybrid…
Sakura: Yeah.
Peter: Combination which takes about an hour.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: Here it’s kind of the 15 minute cut to the…
Sakura: Simplified version.
Peter: Sakura san, I don’t know what I would do without your English. Thank you very much. You and Yoshi have been helping me a lot lately.
Sakura: And hymn, you sing hymn and you have very short sermon.
Peter: Yeah.
Sakura: Yeah.
Peter: Again the simplified version.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: Then the exchanging of the bows.
Sakura: Yes and the ring, exchange of the ring.
Peter: You didn’t forget that, did you Sakura san?
Sakura: Umm yes. So yeah, this is western style.
Peter: Next we have
Sakura: 神道 style which is called 神前 style as well.
Peter: The two characters meaning?
Sakura: しん is 神 god and ぜん is front of…
Peter: Okay in front of god.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: And can you tell us a little more about this?
Sakura: In this Shinto style, the couples wear Japanese very formal clothes. The bride wears either 白無垢
Peter: Which is?
Sakura: Which is all white kimono, everything is white.
Peter: Wow!
Sakura: And she wears this white head piece, head…
Peter: Veil…
Sakura: Like a hat.
Peter: Aha so not like a veil, it doesn’t have anything in front right?
Sakura: Ah no, there are two kinds actually. One is like a hat which is called 角隠し and one type is like a hood. It kind of hides your face but it’s not in front of you. The other option for the dress – bride’s dress, there is also a colorful version as well. So either white one or the colorful costume.
Peter: So you have your choice.
Sakura: Yes and men wear 袴.
Peter: Which we talked about in our previous JCC. Now everybody gets together at the shrine.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: Okay so we have the Christian style, the shrine. What else do we have?
Sakura: Recently we have 人前式。
Peter: Which is?
Sakura: じん is people and ぜん again is in front of. So it’s making a vow in front of people and this is done in like banquet hall or a restaurant and you can wear any kind of clothes but usually wedding dress and western clothes.
Peter: I’ve never heard about this one.
Sakura: And you can like arrange the proceedings. So it’s free and its more – little bit more casual.
Peter: Little bit cheaper I bet too.
Sakura: Yes, yes, yes そうそうそう。 I did that one.
Peter: Ah!
Sakura: So these are the main ones and some people go overseas 海外 wedding.
Peter: Yeah. Now what I think a lot of people don’t understand is, you did that one, I didn’t even have a ceremony.
Sakura: Oh really?
Peter: Yes. Not yet, I am planning on it one day.
Sakura: Oh good, yes.
Peter: But we just went down to city hall and we just signed the papers. Now to be officially married, Sakura san what’s necessary?
Sakura: 結婚届
Peter: Wedding papers and where do you sign these?
Sakura: At city hall.
Peter: So technically, once you sign those papers, you are married. So we were married by a clerical girl. Just walked in, signed the papers, gave her the camera, took the picture holding up our marriage certificate and then we went to eat Ramen.
Sakura: Yes but that kind of style is becoming popular as well. It’s called 地味婚
Peter: What does it stand for?
Sakura: 地味 means playing as opposed to like gorgeous or luxurious. So they just give in the papers and some people have like small party just that. So they don’t want all this celebration going on. Yes and this is popular among many celebrities nowadays as well and many people do that.
Peter: Yeah it’s amazing. You know, when I was kid, I had all these visions about marriage and then we just walked in and signed some papers. I think it was late afternoon. We just made it. Signed the papers and then we were married. Yoshi san, your day will come.
Sakura: Yes.
Yoshi: Ah!
Peter: Can we come with you to sign?
Yoshi: To Vegas?
Sakura: Vegas?
Peter: You are going to the US.
Yoshi: Nah I have no idea.
Sakura: Which style wedding do you want to do?
Yoshi: I want to do Japanese style.
Sakura: 本当?神前。 shrine.
Yoshi: はい。
Sakura: Oh!
Peter: Well, we will be videotaping that. I can tell you that.
Sakura: Yeah.
Peter: Everybody out there.
Sakura: Yeah.
Peter: So Yoshi is going to have the Shinto one, Sakura had the plain one.
Sakura: Plain one!
Peter: And I didn’t even have one.
Sakura: 人前式。 Front of people one ね.
Peter: And how did that turn out? How many people showed up?
Sakura: I invited about 60 people.
Peter: Sounds nice.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: All right we are out of time.
Sakura: Oh really!
Peter: But it works out better because now we can do next week but now, next week, we are going to be talking about disaster prevention day, a big day in Tokyo. It’s actually September 1, but we will be covering it September 2. Then we will be back with another JCC about weddings talking about the ceremony.
Sakura: Yes and I want to talk about the ceremony and also what you are supposed to do when you are invited.


Peter: All right. That’s going to do it for this week.
Sakura: またね。
Yoshi: またね。


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August 26th, 2006 at 06:30 PM
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First post? :shock::razz: Have a great weekend everyone!

June 23rd, 2010 at 01:40 PM
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herrae monica-san,

I think in the long term the second one would good, because the wedding is the event only for one day, but the life after that will continue for a long time. :mrgreen:

May 22nd, 2007 at 07:46 PM
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Hi minna-san,

I have read somewhere that the hat the bride wears at a Shinto wedding is for her to hide her "horns". As if a bride were some kind of an oni before she unites with a man, or something like that.

Can someone give any more information on this?

Thanks a lot,


August 30th, 2006 at 11:58 AM
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I was a couple days late listening to this, but just as I expected, people would want to correct Peter-san's comment about Catholic nupital masses being standard for western/Christian wedding ceremonies.

The nicest thing about the sacrament of marriage according to the Roman Catholic faith is that the marrying couple bless & grace each other as they exchange vows.

But still, I wish we did a ramen reception rather than spending so much $$$.

August 30th, 2006 at 01:46 AM
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Belton-san, thanks for sharing! ありがとうございました!And the ramen reception is where it is at!:grin:

Mique-san, thanks for the information! Don't be surprised if it shows up in part 3 of the series.:wink:

Ali17-san, that's great everyone showed up! And regarding the ceremony, I know the feeling!:grin: Still planning mine. At this rate, we're going to have 25th anniversary/1st vow and ring exchange.:wink: (Hope wifey doesn't find this comment.:lol:)

Nate-san! 久しぶりです!Long time! How have you been?

August 29th, 2006 at 11:42 PM
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Very cool lesson. Very informative.


August 29th, 2006 at 06:50 AM
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We just did the city hall thing as well. We planned it in two weeks for Halloween and only wanted two people to come just to sign the papers but...our who family showed up anyway (about 20 people). We where all crammed into the judges office while she read a beautiful speech about love a commitment.

We are planning on doing a ring exchange ceremony someday when we have the money.

August 28th, 2006 at 09:26 AM
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Yes, the bride's changing costumes twice or 3 times is called "お色直し(Oiro naoshi)", which means "changing colors".

August 28th, 2006 at 04:55 AM
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By coincidence, today I was helping a friend and classmate prepare a presentation for Japanese class about his brother's wedding in Japan this June. Andrew-san has kindly alllowed me to post the photos on the web for you guys to see.

Later I hope to have some video snippets I'm preparing for him. Maybe if you're good I can put his 日本語 presentation up as well after he does it next month.

I quickly put this together. I'm amazed that the bride changed costume 3 times. White western style dress. tradition dress (back into white dress again) then a pink "bo-peep" style dress.


If ever I do this I think I want to opt for the Ramen Reception.

I assume that the western style ceremonies have no religuos significance and are more about having a theme wedding. I wonder if the rings are a western introduction or was it always common in Japan? (I think the wedding ring was originally Roman)

On western culture class. In my parents day it was neccessary to fast from midnight before recieving communion (catholic church). Therefore wedding ceremonies were held quite early and the reception was a wedding breakfast.

August 28th, 2006 at 02:55 AM
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I saw the pictures in the web site Alan-san posted.

This is exactly the style of wedding ceremony I had.

At Hirouen I drank too much because the guests poured bear, wine and sake into my glasses by turns! My face had turned entirely red when we took pictures in a new suits and dress.

August 28th, 2006 at 12:18 AM
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Peter-san, I don't know how that happened. ;)

Brody-san, I haven't heard of that in Florida although I suppose that shouldn't surprise me. Seems like anything unusual that could potentially happen in Florida has already occurred.

Interesting to hear all the different wedding styles as well as the differences amongst religions. The Christian weddings that I have attended typically have some scriptural readings as well as communion which includes the congregation.

On a completely unrelated note, good luck to Japan in the Little League World Championship game later today. :D