Hiroki Terai made an astute observation at a young age: Society celebrates birth and death. But when it comes to marriage, only the union is celebrated — not the end of it.
Inspired by a college friend on the brink of divorce last year, he decided to change that. Like many other entrepreneurs during this recession, he decided to create his own job — divorce planner!
Divorce ceremonies are the latest trend coming out of Japan and you just know it isn’t long before it hits U.S. shores.
Can you hear it now:
"Do you, [state your name], promise to neither love nor cherish this woman, so long as you both shall live? Do you promise to not care whether she's in sickness or in health?"
"I do! I do!”
The couples typically meet near Tokyo’s Sensoji Temple and travel, symbolically, in separate rickshaws to Terai’s “Divorce Mansion.”
There, Terai, performs a small ceremony before family and friends: He summarizes what led to the split and a guest, preferably one who is already divorced, is asked to speak, in a speech that almost always starts with “Congratulations on your divorce!,”Terai told the Japan Times.
The ceremony culminates with the couple smashing their wedding rings in a gesture modeled after the cutting of the cake at wedding ceremonies. The couple uses a mallet with a frog head on it as a frog symbolizes “change” in Japanese culture and they are celebrating their transition from married to single.
The ring smashing not only provides relief to the couple but to the guests — Terai says most guests are unsure what to do throughout the ceremony but spontaneously burst into applause after the ring smashing.
"The moment I saw the smashed ring, I said to myself, ‘Yes! That feels so good,’” one happy customer told Reuters Television.
Terai has performed a couple dozen ceremonies since last March but has received nearly 1,000 inquiries since then.
"And now, by the power vested in me I pronounce you single man and single lady."
[Cue Beyonce's "All the Single Ladies."]
"You may now disassociate yourself with the bride."
"Okay, who wants cake?"
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