The XX Factor

Saying “I Don’t” Before Family and Friends

Your divorce is just as momentous and life-altering as your marriage, so why not officiate it in the same way? At least that’s the logic behind a growing trend in Japan- the divorce ceremony . For around $600, couples-not-to-be travel to a super-secret divorce mansion in separate rickshaws, where they pound their rings to smithereens with a symbolic gavel in front of family and friends. Fun? Maybe.

The brief ceremony is typically followed by a dinner party. The divorcees sit at different tables and celebrate their newfound freedom with their respective guests. (Precisely why they need to be at the same restaurant rubbing it in each other’s faces is not explained.)

Reuters is positioning it as a new trend taking hold in Japan, but the concept doesn’t seem that far removed from the “divorce party” spree that supposedly swept America a few years ago . The idea behind a divorce party is this: Friends come over, bearing gifts, and help you celebrate and/or grieve your recent independence and/or loss. According to CNN, some divorce parties “serve up signature cocktails with names like the So Long and the Sucker, split-themed soundtracks (“Hit the Road, Jack” and “I Will Survive” are popular) and dartboards adorned with the ex’s face,” which sounds more like a hokey scene in a guilty pleasure flick like The First Wives Club than something that should actually happen in reality.

Maybe there are things that are better left private, even in this day and age of openness, for the risk of overtrivializing them? (You can’t get more trite than a dartboard with your ex’s face, after all.) Katy on Jezebel had this to say about the Japanese divorce ceremonies:

Though I’m usually a fan of pretty much any event that involves free food, the divorce ceremonies don’t really sounds like very much fun. One attendee describes the atmosphere as ‘anxious.’ More importantly, one has to wonder why this is becoming a trend. Must we mark every private decision with a public occasion? Is something like this really all that helpful?