“Being a fake priest is big business in Japan – I’ve done a TV commercial for one company,” he added. “In Sapporo, there are five agencies employing about 20 fake priests. In a city like Tokyo, there must be hundreds.”
The fake Western priests are employed at Western-style weddings to give a performance and add to the atmosphere. These are not legal ceremonies – the couples also have to make a trip to the local registrar.
“In the past almost all weddings in Japan were Shinto, but in the last few years Western-style weddings have appeared and become very popular,” said one Japanese priest.