In the old days when “mi-ai” was a mere formality, a young man would be invited to the home of the young woman. If he were favourably impressed, he would leave behind a fan to indicate his acceptance to pursue the marriage.
A “hakama” skirt is given to the groom-to-be in representing fidelity.
“Konbu” – known for its ability to breed –was traditionally given as an engagement present to wish the couple many happy and healthy children
“Shiraga” or hemp was also traditionally given as an engagement present– its strong fibres are used to symbolise the wish for strong family ties. “Shiraga” also means white hair. Hemp is therefore used to wish the couple many years to come
During the age of aristocracy, “Muko-iri” was the common marriage system in Japan. A bridegroom would nightly visit his bride at her home. Only after the birth of a child or the loss of his parents would be the bride be accepted as the wife in the man’s home.