Market View

Being positive about life?the ceremonial functions industry

2012/1/26 Thursday
fromTTAccount Executive ? Minami Morishima
I would like to talk about a new business that has been getting much attention lately, one related to the ceremonial functions industry (coming-of-age events, weddings, funerals, festive events). The marriage business aspect of the ceremonial functions this time is actually the divorce side of things. In a word, the business in the limelight today is on holding divorce ceremonies!

The number of annual divorces in 1947 right after World War II was 79,551couples, but currently it has increased to three times that, 251,383 (Statistics: Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare 2010(Japanese only)). Divorce ceremonies is a business that truly embodies trends in contemporary society.

So, what kind of a ceremony is a divorce ceremony? First of all, a facilitator explains a little about how a kyuro kyufu divorce works (kyuro kyufu is an expression used at divorce ceremonies meaning a “divorced couple”). First of all, greetings by the sakodo (this means the witnesses of the divorcees) and speeches by mutual friends of the kyuro kyufu are conducted, which sounds the same as a wedding ceremony.

At a wedding the biggest spectacle is usually the cutting of the cake and the “first bite” of wedding cake. At a divorce ceremony the last thing the kyuro kyufu do together is the signing of the divorce papers, and then the smashing of the wedding ring with a hammer. These two points are decidedly different from a wedding ceremony!

You may have some doubts about the demand for what may be a slightly negative business but according to Hiroki Terai ? the foremost expert in divorce ceremony planning ? he is currently involved in planning over 100 divorce ceremonies at the moment. Moreover, since the Great East Japan Earthquake inquiries have more than tripled. The reason for this is said to be that since the disaster many people are re-evaluating their priorities in life and because of that many couples are realizing that their values do not match their spouse’s.

From the perspective of couples joining hands and preparing to start a new phase in life, wedding ceremonies and divorce ceremonies serve the same purpose. Demand is on the rise perhaps because couples can still come together and be positive about life.

As an aside ? as your author is in her mid-20s and marriage is starting to creep into my line of sight I never thought that I would be reading up on divorce ceremonies before reading my first Zexy! (Japan’s leading wedding publication) You never know what life is going to offer. Just in case I think I’ll add divorce ceremonies right next to Zexy in my bookmarks list ? in a folder entitled “just in case”…