Saying I Do to Divorce Ceremonies?


Here's a trend divorce attorneys in Pasadena have yet to deal with.

In Japan, where divorce is on the rise, many couples are choosing to celebrate the ending of their marriages in a one-of-a-kind ceremony with families and friends -- many of whom attended their wedding. Throughout Japan, couples are throwing one last party together to signify the end of their relationship. The craze started about a year ago when Tokyo salesman Hiroki Terai opened a divorce mansion in a small space in the city. After witnessing a friend's difficult divorce, Terai was inspired to come up with a positive way to celebrate an otherwise difficult situation. Since then, nearly 30 couples have each forked over 50,000 yen (about $600 a person in U.S. dollars) to hold a ceremony with all the fixings of a wedding to publicly end their relationship before they file for divorce. Terai says roughly 900 people have contacted him regarding the ceremony.

The most recent couple to partake in the divorce celebration said goodbye to their relationship in front of loved ones earlier this month. Mr. and Mrs. Fujii were carried in separate rickshaws to the divorce mansion. Family and friends followed behind the couple on foot to attend the ceremony, where the soon-to-be exes smashed their wedding rings with a gavel adorned with a frog's head (frogs in Japanese culture represent change). The Fujiis both expressed their happiness and relief after the ceremony was over. Dozens of similar divorce services are popping up all over Japan but Terai has garnered headlines as the country's premier divorce planner. He will be taking his service on the road later this month to perform a divorce ceremony in Seoul, Korea.

Once seen as a cultural no-no in Japan, divorce saw a record 250,000 divorces in 2008. Financial stress due to a poor economy is seen as one of the chief reasons for the increase in Japanese divorces.