Faculty Publications

Title

Cultural models and metaphors for marriage: An analysis of discourse at Japanese wedding receptions

Document Type

Article

Keywords

Cultural models, Discourse, Japan, Marriage, Metaphors

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Ethos

Volume

32

Issue

3

First Page

348

Last Page

373

Abstract

This article uses metaphor analysis to delineate the cultural model of marriage expressed in speeches at Japanese wedding receptions. Wedding speakers used three main metaphors for talking about marriage: marriage as a joint creation, marriage as a physical union, and marriage as a journey. These metaphors were used to express a number of themes including the concepts that marriage is a new beginning, requires joint effort and cooperation, is ideally a lasting union, and involves love, trust, and emotional unity. A comparison with earlier studies of U.S. discourse reveals that people in Japan and the United States share many of the same metaphors and ideas about marriage, but differ in their understanding of the "work" required in marriage. Whereas people in the United States talk of the need to "work on" the relationship, particularly through open communication of needs and emotions, speakers at Japanese weddings emphasized the couple "working together" and emotional unity was presented as a part of that cooperation rather than an end in itself.

Original Publication Date

1-1-2004

DOI of published version

10.1525/eth.2004.32.3.348

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