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Japan is pretty fond of Western-style wedding traditions. Far more people choose to have their ceremony in a chapel than a Shinto shrine, with the bride and groom dressed in a wedding dress and tuxedo instead. Other popular foreign introductions are taking a honeymoon and wearing wedding rings.

Of course, it’s also customary for a guy to present his sweetheart with an engagement ring when he proposes. But one Japanese company says there’s room for even more jewelry in the transition from boyfriend and girlfriend, and has introduced the concept of a marriage ring, which is not to be confused with a wedding ring.

As much as Japan loves lavish weddings, the ceremonies aren’t legally binding. To be married in the eyes of the law, you and your betrothed will have to head to city hall or your local ward office and file the proper paperwork.

Of course, most people don’t have time to go wait in line at a government office on the day of their wedding ceremony, so the majority, 79.4 percent, of couples file their paperwork ahead of the ceremony. On average, those lovers are married for 5.3 months before they actually walk down the aisle.

This presents a bit of a problem, though. The exchange of rings is still a dramatic and special part of wedding ceremonies in Japan, and since it would feel kind of odd to slip the ring off you finger only to have your fiancé put it right back on for you, couples don’t wear their wedding rings in the period between registering their marriage and having their wedding ceremony. But that means almost half a year of being husband and wife, sharing a home and a bed, with no tangible symbol of your union.

That’s why Japanese ring maker Tanzo is proposing a third class of ring, which it’s dubbed the nyuseki yubiwa, or marriage registration ring. This is a pair of similarly styled rings, one for the husband and one for the wife, for the couple to wear after being legally married, regardless of whether or not they’ve had their wedding yet.

Judging from the image below, it looks like Tanzo is designing the rings with the possibility in mind of someone wearing both of them on the same finger after the ceremony.

Nyuseki yubiwa/marriage rings on the left, wedding rings on the right

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In hopes of getting the trend rolling, Tanzo is currently giving away marriage rings to 30 couples each month that place orders for wedding rings with the company. Whether or not the idea will catch on remains to be seen, but in accessory-loving Japan, it’s got a shot.

Source: At Press, Tanzo
Images: Tanzo
[ Read in Japanese ]