Azaira asked in TravelAsia PacificJapan · 2 months ago

When were wedding rings introduced to Japan?

When were wedding rings introduced to Japan? Why does the Traditional Shinto Wedding have Rings as a component?

2 Answers

  • Quinn
    Lv 6
    2 months ago

    There were 2 periods which introduced the tradition of wedding rings.

    1) Wedding rings were first introduced when the first western Europeans made direct contact with Japan. The very first Europeans were the Portuguese in 1543 followed shortly in 1549 by the Spaniard. Both expeditions included Catholic missionaries who brought Christianity to Japan which was adopted by a fairly large number of Japanese mostly among the peasant class, but a small number also in the samurai class. However, Christianity went underground when it was outlawed by the Shogun government in 1614 and those who refused to renounce it were executed. But although it was illegal, many Japanese secretly kept their   practice.

    2) Wedding rings became more a thing accepted during the Meiji Restoration when Japan opened its doors to outside trade and embraced many western traditions such as western science, style clothing, architecture, etc. However, some of these adoptions were only in appearance and not the spirit meaning that a Japanese may wear a wedding ring just because they like the idea and not necessarily because of any religious beliefs. There are wedding rings in Shinto weddings because the very first record of a Shinto wedding was in 1872 after the Meiji Restoration. Before that, weddings in Japan were not even recorded and were closer to family gatherings than a formal religious ceremony. If a Shinto priest attends, he was there only as a guest and not to preside over a ceremony.  Even today, western style weddings are popular not because the newlyweds are Christians, but because they like the trappings of the ceremonies. This is an interesting characteristic of the Japanese in that they are very much into adopting rituals and rites from other cultures, but could not care less what they are suppose to mean.

  • 2 months ago

    The "traditional" Shinto wedding ceremony is only about 130 years old.

    Wedding rings were probably introduced into Japan after WWII, and were likely adapted into the Shinto ritual fairly soon after that.  Though they aren't a formal part of it even today.

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