When attending weddings in Japan, it is customary for guests to gift the newlyweds cash. It is not because the Japanese are gold diggers; rather, cash gifts – or goshukugi – are regarded as good luck and blessings from the giver.
However, there are some intricate rules in gifting cash; any amount with 4 and 9 are extremely inauspicious, because of the homophones associated with the pronunciations. 4 in Japanese is ‘shi’, which sounds like the word for death, and 9 in Japanese is ‘ku’, which sounds like the word for hardship.
On top of that, amounts that include even numbers are also seen as bad luck. This is because even numbers can split evenly and this is thought to be associated with the couple splitting (though honestly, divorces are more complicated than that). Therefore, the best amounts to gift newlyweds are 10,000yen, 30,000yen, 50,000yen, 70,000yen and 100,000yen.
Given the current economic situation, it is rare for newlyweds to receive cash gifts of more than 50,000yen. Even 30,000yen can be a huge sum for guests if they have multiple weddings to attend in a year. And 10,000yen gives the impression that you’re a miser. Just before you decline that invitation that your Japanese friend sent you because you’re down on cash, with some creativity, you can actually get away with gifting 20,000yen! Just put in a 10,000yen note and two 5000yen notes. By gifting 3 cash notes, your cash gift is now somehow a prime number even though the cash amount is still even. It’s a genius cash gift hack thought up by desperate money-savers who had attended one too many weddings. You’re welcome.
Feel free to chat with us if you would like to know more about Japanese wedding customs!
Grand Pages Weddings
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