Although it is still considered culturally taboo, one in four Japanese marriages end in divorce. To make it more palatable, the Japanese have devised a ritual that is growing in popularity as a symbolic way to end a marriage and find closure: the divorce ceremony.
As outlined at CNN.com, a Japanese divorce ceremony is similar to a wedding ceremony, but with a decidedly different outcome. It begins with the couple being pulled through the streets in separate rickshaws, with friends and family walking behind them. The ride ends at a “purposely shabby storefront” that has the words “Refresh” and “Divorce” written on the outside.
The couple and spouse enter, and a master of the ceremony gives a short speech about how the couple has grown apart and decided to end their marriage. He invites everyone to say farewell. Then the couple smashes the soon-to-be ex-wife’s wedding ring with a hammer painted green like a frog (which in Japanese culture symbolizes change). A short reception follows, with the couple sitting back-to-back at separate tables. Party favors are chopsticks – because it is two things you can pull apart easily. After the ceremony, the couple bows to each other politely and departs to live their separate lives.