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  • A young Japanese couple perform the traditional marriage ceremony in a temple.
  • Magnifying Glass

Sacred Simplicity
A young Japanese couple perform the traditional marriage ceremony in a temple,
ca. 1946-56.
© Horace Bristol/CORBIS

Japan

Although Shintoism is the indigenous belief system of Japan, Shinto wedding ceremonies only became popular in the early 20th century. The ceremony, which is performed with an austere and elegant simplicity, takes place within a Shinto shrine or another consecrated space. Only individuals close to the couple witness the vows. After the ceremony, friends and family gather to celebrate the new union.