Traditional Japanese funerary practices are rooted within Buddhist rituals, and a traditional Japanese funeral consists of the following three important steps: the wake, the ceremony itself, and the cremation of the deceased.
However, funerals have been noted to be on a sharp decline in Japan in recent decades, and Hiromi Shimada, a Japanese specialist of religion and writer of a bestseller titled Funerals Are Not Necessary, has observed the three main reasons as to why more Japanese people are traditional funeral practices.
The first reason is related to cost. Japan has the most expensive funerals in the world, at least five times the average of the United States’ funeral costs.
Secondly, traditional funerals have been smaller in sizes, limited to family members and/or close friends of the deceased only.
Lastly, there’s a drop in company-sponsored funerals, leaving funeral costs up to individuals and their families.
I – Word Understanding
Wake – a watch held over the body of a dead person prior to burial and sometimes accompanied by festivity
Cremation – burning of a dead body to reduce it to ashes and bones
Deceased – dead person
II – Have Your Say
1, In your own words, please describe the funeral rituals, traditions and beliefs in your country / area.
2, When was the last time you attended a funeral? Was it a large or a private ceremony?
3, Have you ever heard of DIY Funeral KIt by Tsubasa (Nagano Pref)? What are some known cheaper funeral alternatives in Japan?