I now pronounce you… separated? Divorce ceremonies are on the rise in Japan, where a splitting couple gathers with friends and family to celebrate a new start in life—except the pair is handed a hammer instead of a ring, symbolizing the end of their marriage. Divorce itself is on the rise in Japan, with 251,000 divorces taking place in 2008, a number experts say is the result of uncertain economic times and the breakdown of traditional gender roles in the family. Entrepreneur Hiroki Terai set up a company specifically to plan divorce ceremonies—some complete with white dresses and cake—and he said couples from all walks of life have participated so far. "Everyone deserves a fresh new start. Two couples actually decided to stay together after the ceremony because it made them realize how much they still cared,” he said.