Japanese Slang : Dekikon
One of the many ways to become more fluent in a foreign language is to study its slangs. Not only will you speak more fluently but you will sound more like a native speaker. Let’s see today, how you would say “shotgun wedding” in Japanese. Well, with the expression: “dekikon” 「できこん」「でき婚」!
This expression describes a wedding that is or was arranged to avoid embarrassment due to an unplanned pregnancy rather than out of the desire of the participants! You can literally translate as “we already made (a baby) marriage”. Have you heard it before?
Now, let’s take a look at the interesting construction of this Japanese slang word. The first part, “deki” comes from the sentence 「（子どもが）できてしまった」 which means “got pregnant” or “gave birth”. As the sentence carries a vey\ry negative nuance, it is closer in meaning to the expression ” to get knocked up”. The second part, “kon” originates from the word “kekkon” 「けっこん」 「結婚」 which means marriage. Finally, the both parts “dekikon” were combined as an abbreviation for the following sentence:
[(kodomo) ga dekichatta (kara) kekkon (suru・shita)]
The literal translation is “to get / got married because of having conceived a child”. But we all now the underlying meaning: because you conceived a child before getting married, you have to get / had to get a quick wedding to save face”.
The Japanese slang “dekikon” appeared during the 90’s as for some various reasons, wedding triggered by pregnancy increased. By 2000’s, marriages due to unplanned parenthood became popular among young Japanese of 19/20 years old, as several celebrities such as idols made it a trend in Japan. This way of getting married is also called 「ダブルハッピー」 “double happy” or 「マタニティウェディング」 “maternity wedding”. If those words have a pretty obvious meaning, there is a third and quite euphemistic way to speak about shotgun wedding: 「おめでた婚」 “omedeta kon”: a “blessed” marriage.
Let’s see the word dekikon used in a conversation between two friends:
(Dansei no tomodachi dōshi no kaiwa)
A: Jitsuwa, saraigetsu ni kekkon suru koto ni natta nda.
B: E? Soreha omedetō. Zuibun kyūda na. Moshikashite, dekikon?
(two male friends are discussing together)
A：To tell the truth, in two months I am getting married.
B：Wow, that is a great news! Congratulations! That was pretty quick. Wait. Don’t tell me it’s a shotgun wedding?
(Jyosei no tomodachi dōshi no kaiwa)
A: Kiita? C san ha raigetsu kekkon suru sou desu.
B: Ee. Dekikon rashidesune.
A: E-, shiranakattan desu.
(Two female friends are discussing together)
A: Have you heard? C san is apparently getting married next month.
B: Yeah. Seems to be a shotgun wedding.
A: Eh? I didn’t know.
Of course, as it is used casually with friends, family, or those close to you, you should avoid using it in more formal conversation.
Click this link to read about how to use the Japanese word: chotto!