FUNERAL SHOPPING: PREPARING FOR THE AFTER LIFE IN JAPAN
More than 25 percent of Japan’s population is over 65 years of age. The overall population is expected to shrink by nearly 30 million in the next 50 years. As a result, Shukatsu or ‘End-of-life’ seminars are becoming popular events in the country, offering both traditional and high-tech funeral services and products to customers.
FUNERAL SHOPPING: PREPARING FOR THE AFTERLIFE IN JAPAN
Choosing your coffin, posing for a tombstone photo, and simulating the scattering of your own ashes into the ocean- Japan’s elderly are doing their own funeral shopping. Due to the country’s rapidly aging society, funeral business fairs and ‘End-of-life’ seminars are gaining popularity. Let’s take a look at this new trend.
Japan’s elderly population are opting to take care of their own funeral while they are still in good health, in order to relieve their children of the burden.
Relatives walk through the Ryogoku Ryoen, a multi-storey vault-style graveyard, in downtown Tokyo. The hi-tech graveyard is equipped with modern tombs that robotically retrieves the correct tombstone or urn, based on a unique identity card that is provided to the customer.
A staff member demonstrates how to use a modern tomb. Those who have acquired a space at Ryogoku Ryoen graveyard, are given a special identity card. It retrieves the correct tombstone or urn upon touching it on a special machine.
Ruriden, another modern cemetery in Tokyo, houses over 2,000 tiny gravestones in form of crystal Buddha statues. Those who have booked a space here are given the opportunity to light up their specific gravestone with color-changing LED lights by using an electronic card.