December 19, 2006

Weddings - Japanese style So many choices - Western (no not cowboy outfits) or traditional style?

The trend is very much geared now towards pseudo-Christian weddings, although it is often the case that the Bride and Groom will change outfits several times during the reception (the most I've seen personally is 5). Is this trend having an effect on the Kimono industry? Do these weddings mock Christianity, as they are often presided over by fake priests? (Another interesting factoid: attending a wedding here is like watching a stage production - every detail and event is timed to the last minute. My friend has just edited a short film about this - Japanese Wedding Wranglers)

  • New Zealand is a popular destination for Japanese couples wanting a Western-style wedding. I'm not sure whether it's the neogothic architecture in Christchurch or whether you get more bang for your buck, but here we have many businesses focusing strictly on every aspect of Chinese and Japanese weddings. And they seem to be busy.
  • I do hope the kimono industry survives, such fantastic textiles, and a revival of a broken tradition is never quite the same. You get a lot of pseudo-white weddings in China now too, but I don't think the fake priest thing has been much of an issue yet.
  • Very interesting! The wedding situation here in South Korea mirrors pretty closely what's described, minus the fake priests. With Christianity being the dominant religion (>30% of population of 50 million), there's no shortage of Korean priests. I'm not sure about the hanbok (traditional Korean costume) situation, though I would not be surprised if it was also under similar threat. It's fairly common, though, for each adult Korean to own at least one hanbok as there are actually several occasions throughout the year to wear one. Personal anecdote: when my father came to visit this past year, he had one made. It was dreadfully expensive, and one option that made a huge difference was casting a medallion-type of accessory in plastic rather than amber as is the tradition. I think the difference was in the neighborhood of 400USD. But, back to weddings, the combination of Western and traditional ceremonies in one wedding is exactly the same as described in the main article, though the Western part is definitely the "meat" of it and the Korean part is really just for the family, conducted mostly out of public view in a side room. And, yes, there are many costume changes!
  • I think New Zealand, Australia and Hawaii are popular destinations for overseas weddings because of the weather and also because there is an infrastructure to have them easily. Most people don't own a real kimono here (although they probably have a yukata which is the summer versions). It's an expensive complicated garment. Most women choose to hire and be fitted at the store than own and wear one. Very much a niche. I have surprised a few Japanese women when I wear my yukata because I have learned to tie my obi by myself. (It's not that tricky actually). Not only are the fabrics less expensive in the yukatas - but you can even get fake pre-tied obis which just hook on! Interesting to hear that it's not just Japan. I wonder how much of the white wedding dress princess factor plays a role here.
  • The kimono industry is sadly, slowly dying. One of my favorite textile houses in Berkeley (which got its fabric from Japan) closed a few years back due to the decline of the industry. Sure, there are a few small resurgences here and there as some enterprising individuals and groups come up with ways to automate the creation process, but the true artisans and craftspeople are a dying breed. Interestingly enough however, one of the biggest collections of kimonos in the world is in Minnesota. of all places.
  • The Sanrio store in Times Square had a gorgeous silk Hello Kitty kimono in the window. I bet they could hear me squealing in Queens.
  • It's just a different type of cosplay, the "western wedding dress" and all.
  • I have surprised a few Japanese women when I wear my yukata Gomichild, you owe me a picture! *jumps, squeals, claps hands in anticipation
  • Asian weddings are huge in the Niagara Region, particularly in Niagara-on-the-Lake. "Wine Country" weddings are really being pushed in the Japanese market, to the point where wineries and jewellers have Japanese staff to deal with them exclusively. (Mind you, the parks commission for the Falls itself is going even heavier than the private sector trying to develop the Asian market knowing that thier North American market is a thing of the past -- the commission seems to be courting growth rather than conservation, despite its non-profit mandate, but that's an entirely different thread.) Quite a few package tours it seems. But I've seen it in Central Park and Paris as well, that two buses pull up, three or four wedding parties stream out, they all have identical photos taken one after the other, and then they get back on the bus for the next shoot. Fascinating.
  • The kimono industry is sadly, slowly dying. That's because no enterprising individual has come up with the UtiliKimono yet (cf. UtiliKilt). Actually, I think the simple fact of an unweildy piece of clothing going out of fashion is not that worrisome. We don't mourn the passing of ruffs, gamsbarts, hoopskirts or engageants in the West, do we? Heck, I've been in France for over three months and I have yet to see a single French cuff! OMG! Surlyboi! Where the hell have you been?
  • We don't mourn the passing of ruffs, gamsbarts, hoopskirts or engageants in the West, do we? I do!
  • Miniver scorned the commonplace, And eyed a khaki suit with loathing. He missed the medaieval grave Of iron clothing.
  • I actually own a utilikilt after seeing the versatility of the wee beasties at Burning Man this year.