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Shinto nd non-Shinto wedding in the ancient times

 
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hashiba_hideyoshi
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2014 7:01 pm    Post subject: Shinto nd non-Shinto wedding in the ancient times Reply with quote
Sorry if this is in the wrong place/has been discussed. Nothing turned up in the forum search.


1. When was the shiromuku weding garb first began to be used? The black-white theme is very much like the black tuxedo/white wedding dress thing, so was that just coincidence or was the outfit influenced by Western traditions? If I understand correctly at least in the Heian times the Shinto wedding garb was not the black-white outfit that is usually in use in Shinto weddings nowadays.

2. If its not a Shinto wedding, do we know what the wedding ceremony is like, if there is one at all? Period dramas and historical manga tend to only show wedding banquets happening, but... is that also the wedding ceremony itself? Like, just declare the man and woman to be married and that was that? Some don't even show parties. Just the woman being delivered to the man's place, and in the next scene they're already calling each other husband and wife.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2014 1:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Marriage ceremonies/agreements changed greatly from the Heian era to the Edo period, with the Edo period being the era that primarily featured the ceremony you described. Marriage was a pretty simple affair, bascially boiling down to the parties involved saying "We're married" and registering themselves as such at their family temple and with their family head (during the Edo period). And then as now, income and social status went a long way towards determining what kind of ceremony was held. Way too much to touch on here, I suggest finding a copy of 'Fertility and Pleasure' for more details.

A couple of points to make-Shinto wasn't really so much an organized religion pre-Meiji but just random collections of local folklore and tradition, and you really wouldn't have a Shinto 'priest' presiding over things. The drinking of three cups of sake was pretty much traditional during the Edo period.

Western tradition had nothing to do with the bride being dressed in white. White is the traditional color of purity and death (which is why in samurai movies you see anyone performing ceremonial seppuku dressed in a white kataginu). Brides were considered to now be symbolically 'dead' to their old families, reborn into their new ones.

Things are still pretty basic in Japan. Priests and monks don't perform ceremonies like they can in the USA-the official 'ceremony' takes place when you go to the local ward office and record your marriage. My wife and I had a small traditional ceremony the next day at a local shrine (only room for a couple of family members), another at To-ji for family and close friends, and then the ubiquitous 'reception' later at a rented hall. Other people have Western style weddings at a rented church even though they're not Christians. Others just dispense with everything except the reception.
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ltdomer98
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2014 4:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
According to Hitomi Tonomura's article Black Hair and Red Trousers: Gendering the Flesh in Medieval Japan (American Historical Review, 1994), "Marriage" was a pretty fluid concept during at least the Heian and Kamakura periods. The words we use now for "husband" (Otto 夫) and "wife" (tsuma 妻) didn't refer to someone you "married" in some form of formal ceremony. She even cites instances where a woman referred to her rapist as her "otto", as he had taken her, and despite it being against her will it somehow formed a bond between them.

Especially amongst the nobility during the Heian and earlier periods, the matrilocal (also called uxorilocal) trend of a husband moving in with a wife's family, rather than her moving to his house, meant there were less strong bonds between a husband (often out doing his work thing, or sneaking into some other woman's bedroom) and the wife. Someone else could come along and become the new "otto" simply by having an affair with the wife, which was common as sexual infidelity wasn't a big deal at all.

It wasn't until buke society asserted itself that different family patterns started to take hold, and a military culture focused on male fighting prowess (for survival, if nothing else) placed a greater emphasis on men within the marriage relationship, and women were subordinated in order to strengthen the clan. Prior to this women could inherit property, be independent of their husbands, etc. This changed, along with the requirement for women to be attached exclusively to one man, to maximize the house's military potential. A man could have as many dalliances as he desired, because more sons = more warriors in the house, but a woman had to stay put in order to not dilute the family with another man's sons, etc.

That's why, around Kamakura and into Muromachi, marriage customs change, and you get a bit more of a ceremony, as basic as it was. And as tatsu said, this gets more formalized (a bit, anyway) in the Edo, primarily because it had to be recorded.




We recorded a podcast where we talked about this, not sure when that one will be coming out.
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hashiba_hideyoshi
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2014 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Yeah, I've heard tidbits of the Edo and Heian period, but I was wondering how it works in the Muromachi/Azuchi-Momoyama where a lot of the marriages between clans were super politically charged and everything.

I know there's the go-between (nakado?) who intercedes for both parties, but... that's about it. Was there any ceremony at all? What was the procedure of marriage?

I don't really want to check out a book just to find out about one particular thing that wouldn't be covered too intensively in it.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2014 6:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
There were no real guidelines or requirements for a wedding in the Sengoku. For samurai, an arrangement was made, bride (generally) delivered to the husband's household (although a husband could be 'adopted' as heir by the bride's family and enter their household), marriage consumated, done deal. There would usually but not always be a ceremony, the combo banquet/ceremony. Gifts on display, drinking the three cups of sake, then mass drinking, singing, more mass drinking, dancing, followed by mass drinking. Not much has changed in Japan in that regard.
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