After 3 years in Japan, I realise that I have never heard so many times the word marriage. It's everywhere in Japan. Impossible to watch TV one day without having a programme about marriage/wedding, celebrities asked about their opinions about marriage, etc. In fact, Yahoo Japan is the only one (I have checked a dozens other Yahoo from all around the world) to have a "kekkon" (結婚) category on its first page.

I hear people getting married all the time, and it is always a big event here. I haven't heard of small weddings with close relatives only. Always the big wedding in luxury hotels with 50 to 200 guests and 2 or 3 separate receptions. People plan their wedding over a year before (in my case, if it weren't for my wife, that would have been like 2 month before, which is exceptionally long term for me) and many of the people I know even have their wedding in Hawaii (mostly), Australia, New York, etc. No, not the honeymoon, but the wedding reception with all the guests !

Guest usually have to pay about 30,000yen (300US$) to attend a wedding, and I have heard many people complaning (esp. in October, November) because they had to attend 3 weddings that months and pay 90,000yen.

So why are weddings so important in Japan, why do they invite so many people, hold them in such expensive places and prepare it so long in advance ? We can't even say it's because of tradition, as most younger people want to get married in a church/chapel with a fake priest, eventhough they aren't Christians, and women prefer at a rate of 10 to 1 to wear the Western-style white dress rather than kimono. Most traditional aspects of the wedding are also disappearing (like the exchange of gifts between families).

Why do they discuss the meaning of marriage, of what is a good husband (usually it means having a high and stable income more than anything else) or a good wife (usually that means cooking well, taking good care of the house, and let the husband go to hostess bar and watch porn whenever they want, etc.) ?

I could positively say that the vast majority of the Japanese are obsessed by marriage. And yet, the marriage rate is falling fast (for other reasons, such as discrimination at work for married women).