Renewing wedding vows, a practice common in Europe and the United States for decades, has been slowly taking root in Japan over the past two to three years.

Amid prolonged economic stagnation and in the aftermath of the March 2011 triple disaster, many Japanese have come to hold their family relationships more dearly. Some see such ceremonies as a means to express their appreciation and gratitude to their spouse as well as other family members.

Masataka Okubo held a vow renewal ceremony with his wife, Hiroko, in April at their favorite traditional Japanese restaurant. After two decades of marriage, the two renewed their vows in front of a pastor to "continue to get along and move hand-in-hand from now on."