Religion: Grooving in Japan

When it comes to eternity, the practical-minded Japanese have always figured it is wisest to hedge all bets. Consequently their ceremonies of miya-mairi, which correspond to Christian baptisms, are traditionally Shinto, and their funerals are traditionally Buddhist. Now, increasingly, the Japanese are taking to being married in Christian ceremonies. This year 10% of all Japanese marriages are expected to take place in Christian churches—complete with white wedding gown, preacher, organ music and flowers—even though only 1% of Japanese are baptized Christians. At least 36 Protestant chapels in Tokyo cater especially to the "outsiders," but some couples even go to Guam or...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!