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Cool Japan / Japan's wedding-day warriors

Pick up herewith Cool Japan News by Asahi.
The title is "Cool Japan / Japan's wedding-day warriors".
The wedding style like this is one of the special ones.
However it's interesting, I suppose.
Quote herewith the News.
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Cool Japan / Japan's wedding-day warriors
Mar 5, 2010 by Asahi

It's no secret what marriage-minded women in Japan want in their man: Some fighting spirit. Or at the very least the look of it, even if it's just for that one special day. How else to explain the latest trend in nuptial fashion: Helmeted grooms stepping out in full samurai armor, ready to take a sword to the wedding cake.

photo
(Sachiko Takekuma reacts happily to her fiance's new look at a fitting. (LOUIS TEMPLADO))

Fittingly, the phenomenon springs from Kagoshima Prefecture in the Kyushu island region. Long known for its warring clans, strong sake and Japan's macho men, Kagoshima Prefecture is also home to Marutake Industry Co., a company which replicates historical armor.

"People in the entertainment industry know us because we've made the armor for almost every samurai drama or movie you can think off, except 'The Last Samurai,'" President Kenichi Tanoue explains.

The company, which now employs 50 armorers, started off in the 1960s manufacturing fishing gear.

"About three years ago, though, we got a call asking if we could provide a suit of armor for a wedding, and it's taken off from there," Tanoue says.

In 2007, the company started renting out its armor--the most elaborate of which sells for hundreds of thousands of yen--and shipped sets to 20 wedding receptions. Last year, it handled 273.

This year it expects to top that, so it opened a showroom last summer in Tokyo's Adachi Ward.

It's not the men who are keen to plate themselves, according to Tanoue. In almost all cases it's the bride-to-be that calls the shots.

"They want their husbands to look strong. They get the image from video games where handsome characters in armor slay monsters, and want their man to be like them," Tanoue says.

Or they are faddish rekijo, female history buffs who devour historical TV dramas and movies and long for heroes of the past.

That's how Sachiko Takekuma, 28, describes herself. She recently led her fiance, 25, to Marutake's new Tokyo showroom for a fitting in anticipation of their wedding next month.

"He's from Kyushu so I want him in something from one of the warlords there," she says.

It took more than 20 minutes for staff members to outfit her fiance in the heaviest suit at the showroom, an intricate design in plum red, patterned after a Muromachi Period (1338-1573) design.

"The main reason we want to do this is to surprise and entertain our friends," Takekuma says.

"A lot of them are also into history, so they'll really get a laugh--our parents sure did. Besides, I don't see why he has to dress like everyone else does. He can wear a suit any day of his life. But samurai armor? That's something he'll put on only once."

***

For more on Marutake's armor, visit (www.yoroi.co.jp).
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By T.S. on Mar 12, 2010
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