An entrepreneur in Japan has devised a new way of untying the knot: divorce ceremonies. One in four marriages in Japan end in divorce, and for $606 (U.S. currency), a couple may employ Hiroki Terai’s services to ceremoniously call it quits. According to Time Magazine:
Despite Japan’s soaring divorce levels, the practice is still taboo. These ceremonies help people to cope with the country’s changing social norms, Terai claims. “There’s no mistaking that divorce is a sad process,” he says. “But I believe that by declaring your new start in life in front for [sic] your friends, relatives and family, you draw a clear line. It helps emotionally.”
Common features of a divorce ceremony are the smashing of the old wedding rings with a heavy hammer painted with a green frog’s head (frogs symbolize change is [sic] Japanese culture) and a feast with the couple sitting back to back at opposing tables. At the end of the ceremony the pair give each other a polite bow and go their separate ways.
Why someone would pay money for such an observance is puzzling to me. Why symbolize something so tragic as the ripping apart of two who have become one? Or perhaps it’s simply a case of a businessman preying on people who want to legitimize a choice they innately know is wrong. Personally, I hope the practice doesn’t catch on.