Living: A Wedding Every 20 Minutes

In Japan, marriages have blossomed into a $17 billion business

Marriage wrote Novelist John P. Marquand, "is a damnably serious business, particularly around Boston." And also, these days, around Tokyo. The Japanese are as obsessive about nuptials as any traditional Back Bay clan. Moreover, they have far more opportunities to celebrate weddings.

Most of Japan's annual three-quarters of a million marriages (compared with 2.4 million in the U.S.) take place in the fall. In November, when religious calendars are filled with auspicious days for wed lock, Tokyo's 300 ceremonial halls are booked solid for...

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