Yomeiri – Brides Entering Into the Household of the Groom and Love for Daughters
In Japan, there is a term yomeiri, or bride entering into the house of groom. Yomeiri is written 嫁入り: 嫁yome = bride, 入りiri = to enter. Because Japanese household is inherited by the male side of the family, brides were (and still are, more strongly in the rural areas) considered to be a member of the groom’s household once wed and entered into the groom’s household. Until recently, houses were inherited from generation to generation and expected for the family head to live where the ancestors had lived. Hence, the bride would enter into the groom’s family. Brides were expected to support not only her husband but also to contribute to the husband’s family.
There is a story a bride-to-be was told by her esthetician. When the esthetician asked the bride-to-be when she would be officially married (note: in Japan, the official date of marriage is when marriage registration is accepted by the municipal.), the bride-to-be answered that she did not know. The esthetician told her that the date should be informed to the bride’s parents in advance to submitting the marriage registration because, to the bride’s parents, their daughter submitting a marriage registration meant that their daughter’s name will be erased from the official family registration. To parents, yomeiri of a daughter meant to have a daughter taken away from them, in a sense, since the daughter will no longer exist on official paper.
Japanese wedding custom in older days consisted of yomeiri-dougu, or bride’s wedding items, which included, for example tansu (wardrobe chest), kimono for formal use, kyoudai (Japanese style dresser). Items depended on what was required by the groom’s family as a return for betrothal gift (including money) by the groom’s family which the bride’s family was to generally return two to three times the value of the betrothal gift. Bride’s household was expected to prepare valuable items before the bride entered the groom’s household. As parents, it was a great burden to prepare yomeiri-dougu but did so for the daughter to live comfortably in her new home.
Much of these traditional custom is lost in recent weddings, but as long as there is a word yomeiri existing in the Japanese vocabulary, appreciation between parents and daughter will not be lost.