Banzai! Banzai! Banzai!

Sorry gang! I tried to work on that wedding recap blog, but quickly realized that it’s gonna take some time for that one. Maybe next week? *blush*

In the meantime, I thought I’d talk about the tradition of “Banzai” at Hawaii weddings, and how ours went over. Four words: HI-LA-RI-OUS!

According to the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii’s web site, the significance of the Banzai toast is as follows:

The word banzai literally means “10,000 years” and is associated with long life. Banzai cheers are given at joyous occasions, banquets and gatherings, to express congratulations, encouragement, or celebration. Traditionally, the participants shout the word “banzai” three times in unison, raising their hands in the air each time.

It is customary to deliver two separate banzai cheers at weddings. The first, “Shinro shimpu, banzai!” means “long life and happiness to the bride and groom.” The second banzai is: “Raihin shoku, banzai!” or, more politely, “Raihin no minasama, banzai!” This banzai cheer means “Long life and happiness to all the guests!” In Hawaii, these wedding banzai cheers are often given as a special toast, with participants raising their glasses with each shout of “banzai!”

In my personal experience, I’ve noticed that the “Shinro Shinpu” one is usually done by a friend, and symbolizes good luck from the guests to the bride and groom. The “Raihin no minasan” one seems to usually be done by a family member and is to the guests.

I sound unsure because when I asked my parents (who are straight from the muthaland mind you) about the history of this tradition, they were baffled. It seems this tradition is not done at weddings in Japan.

So on to our banzai. If I had one tip to offer future to-be-wed peeps, pit two competitive friends against each other. It will make for an interesting challenge to them and an entertaining banzai for all.

One was the brother-in-law, and the other was his (and my) good friend. Before the wedding was even here, they were trash talking to each other as to whose banzai would be better. Following the wedding was no different. They were boasting about their own banzai and how junk the other guy’s one was.

As to who won, it depends on who’s asking. If it’s the BIL, he won. If it’s his/my friend, he won. If they both ask at the same time, it was a tie! 😛

Dave's Banzai Lee's Banzai

Both were hilarious as heck and we were definitely glad we chose them to do our Banzais. Much love to Dave and Lee! “Banzai, Banzai, Banzaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiii!”

Talk to me!
* Any funny banzai stories to share from your wedding or other weddings you’ve been to?
* Anything to add about the banzai tradition?
* Anyone else from Japan who can speak to this tradition in Japanese weddings?
* Ever did a banzai for a friend’s wedding? (this means they think you’re loud BTW 😉 ) How’d it go?
* Did you use the banzai tradition at your wedding?
* Gonna use this at your wedding in the future?


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3 Responses to “Banzai! Banzai! Banzai!”

  1. Rita Says:

    Hey Sugimoto-san,

    Congrats again… I too asked my mom about this tradition (along with the 1001 cranes – which I didn’t do due to my mom’s reponse to it and lack of time) and she didn’t know about it (Banzai) either. I’m sure my relatives from Japan were just as amused as my mom was to do this “Japanese” tradition at our wedding… Authenticity aside, our 2 groomsmen each did one and with the help of the email I sent to them on what to say, they both did a fabulous job.

  2. World Wide Ed Says:

    Cool. At least you’re more prepared than my one friend who asked me to do their banzai like minutes before I was to go up. :

  3. How to Get Married In Hawaii | World Wide Ed Says:

    […] – Popular tradition says that you should do at least one banzai at your wedding. This bring good luck and long life. […]

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