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
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.
The latest couple, who called themselves Mr. and Mrs. Fujii, met near
Sensoji Temple in Tokyo's traditional Asakusa area on Sunday and rode in
separate rickshaws to the "divorce mansion."
"By putting an end to our marriage, we wanted to give ourselves fresh starts
and give our lives a sense of renewal," Mr. Fujii, a 33-year-old
businessman, told Reuters Television.
He said he felt responsible for the failure of his marriage as he spent too
much time away from home and too much money on his various interests
including cars - despite numerous warnings from his wife.
Friends and family of the Fujii couple followed closely behind the rickshaws
on foot, arriving at the "divorce mansion" for a ceremony where they smashed
their wedding ring with a gavel, a gesture signifying the end of their
The gavel has a frog's head as frogs symbolize change in Japanese culture.
"When we smashed the ring together, I felt like "oh, this is the end of it,
really" and my heart and soul felt renewed. Now I feel I can have a new life
and start all over again," said Mr. Fujii.
His wife of eight years also expressed her relief.