Divorce ceremonies in Japan

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Tokyo: With divorce on the rise in Japan, some couples are choosing to celebrate the end of an unhappy marriage by saying “I do” for a final time at a divorce ceremony before friends and family.

Divorce ceremonies were pioneered about a year ago by a former salesman, Hiroki Terai, who set up a “divorce mansion” in a small undercover space in Tokyo.

Since then about 25 couples have each paid 55,000 yen ($606) to hold a ceremony with all the pomp and grandeur of a wedding that publicly ends their relationship before they officially file for divorce. Terai said he had received more than 900 inquiries.

Terai, who is believed to be Japan’s first “divorce ceremony planner,” came up with the idea of divorce ceremonies to help couples celebrate their decision to separate after one of his friends was going through a bitter divorce.

Divorce is on the rise in Japan where it was once taboo with about 251,000 divorces taking place in 2008, partly blamed on the poor economy taking its toll on romance.

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