While many couples opt for a church wedding and wedding party with lots of music and fanfare, a Japanese groom and Taiwanese bride yesterday tied the knot in a traditional Confucian wedding in Taipei, calling for a revival of the centuries-old Chinese practice.
The groom, Takuju Minakuchi, is an associate professor specializing in the history of Chinese philosophy at Musashi University in Japan.
Having participated in ceremonies and published articles on the issue, it made sense when the 38-year-old Confucian enthusiast decided to marry his Taiwanese bride in a wedding that followed traditional Confucian rituals.
“Minakuchi begged us to help make his dream come true,” said Huang Lu Ching-ju (黃呂錦茹), commissioner of Taipei City Government’s Department of Civil Affairs.
This was the second time such a wedding was staged at the Taipei Confucius Temple since its establishment in 1925, with the first one held about 70 years ago, Huang said.
Few such weddings are held these days because they require a lot of preparation and participation by many people, but the government decided to make an exception for the Japanese -academic, Huang Lu said.
The wedding ceremony involved the efforts of local students and community members, who together prepared offerings, performed traditional Confucian dances and cooked sweet glutinous rice balls for participants, the commissioner said.
The interaction between the community and the Confucian temple has thus become more frequent and meaningful, an outcome Minakuchi said is beneficial to the preservation of culture and tradition.
“Confucianism is not only about memorization, but application in everyday life,” Minakuchi said.
Spectators seemed to agree.
“Taiwanese people now prefer Westernized weddings, so we don’t see this as often. I think it helps us understand more about our ancestors and where we come from,” a spectator surnamed Chen (陳) said.
However, asked if she would opt for the one-hour wedding with complicated rites and rituals, Chen said she thought the simpler the wedding, the better.
The Confucian wedding, costing NT$90,000 (US$2,810), was subsidized by the city government. Officials said the wedding was so successful that the government will draft plans to make the wedding available to all citizens in the near future.