Japan for the Uninvited

Japanese culture from a bemused foreign perspective

Fake priests

There are over 700,000 weddings in Japan every year. Western style weddings are increasingly popular, usually conducted in expensive hotels or special wedding centers.

The centerpiece is sometimes a Christian wedding ceremony, transporting the bride and groom to a magical Hollywood fantasy. Few of the guests understand what the foreign minister is saying, but his presence is crucial to the illusion.

However, he isn’t a real priest. In fact, it’s unlikely that he’s even a Christian. Recently, it has become increasingly easy for devious foreigners to get weekend jobs as bogus clergymen.

Very few Japanese people are Christian. They don?t have a great knowledge of Christianity’s beliefs or rituals, and they don’t really care. This makes it very easy for unscrupulous agents to send impostor “priests” to their trusting clients.

The pay is great for such an easy job, but it’s also very risky. Foreigners caught defrauding people in this way face permanent deportation, a hefty fine, and up to 3 years in prison.

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