The Banzai toast is a staple at weddings, particularly Japanese weddings in Hawaii. Banzai, meaning 10,000 years, is similar to “cheers” or other glass-clinking phrases that result in a sip of a drink. In researching the Banzai toast, this is a local Hawaii tradition that is not performed at weddings in Japan. It is likely a tradition that was started by the Japanese that immigrated to Hawaii to work in the plantations. Not to be confused with the popular Japanese “Bonsai” tree, the Banzai toast occurs in two parts during the wedding reception.
No, not you, Bonsai. Unfortunately, Mr. Miyagi is unavailable to give our Banzai toast. // Image via Bonsai Empire // The Karate Kid (Part 1)
The first Banzai toast is from the guests to the bride and groom, wishing them long life and happiness, and is often given by a close friend or family member of the couple. We have asked Mr. Eel’s stepdad to give the first Banzai toast. Upon asking everyone to stand, the Banzai toaster shouts the words “Shinro Shimpu, Banzai!” after which the wedding guests repeat “Banzai!” in unison. The toaster then shouts “Banzai” two more times with the guests shouting back “Banzai” each time and ending with a sip of their drink.