The image: Japan's earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis have upended thousands of lives, and forced many to reassess their priorities. And for some Japanese couples, that means unhappy marriages are on the chopping block. But instead of mourning the loss of their unions, many couples are celebrating. Japan's divorce ceremonies have slowly grown in popularity since 2009, but they have reportedly tripled in the wake of the March earthquake. These unusual celebrations publicly mark a relationship's termination before the couple officially files for divorce. Like weddings, divorce ceremonies include a special dress, buffet, and rings. But instead of exchanging the symbolic bands, the couples smash them with a gavel. (See the image below). While these "bizarre" divorce celebrations may set some couples back $600, ex-grooms and ex-brides have said it's more satisfying than just signing a paper.

The reaction: Divorce parties are a little strange, says Katerina Nikolas at Helium, but at least they end marriages in a way that is "amicable, rather than acrimonious." Bizarre? says Megan Gibson at TIME. We're stepping into Jack White territory here, although the party the rock star and his model-singer wife, Karen Elson, recently threw to mark their sixth anniversary and their divorce won points for originality. But then again "divorce is just as much a fact of life as marriage is," and if it's a good-natured end, why not celebrate the split and invite everyone to partake? Check it out:


(REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao)