Death and Dying in Contemporary Japan
Edited by Hikaru Suzuki
Routledge – 2013 – 240 pages
This book, based on extensive original research, explores the various ways in which Japanese people think about death and how they approach the process of dying and death. It shows how new forms of funeral ceremonies have been developed by the funeral industry, how traditional grave burial is being replaced in some cases by the scattering of ashes and forest mortuary ritual, and how Japanese thinking on relationships, the value of life, and the afterlife are changing. Throughout, it assesses how these changes reflect changing social structures and social values.
"The research stimulates … our intellectual curiosity… one feels enlightened" - Masami Takahashi, Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago, USA Pacific Affairs: Volume 87, No. 3 – September 2014
Introduction: Making One's Death, Dying and Disposal in Contemporary Japan Hikaru Suzuki Part 1: Meaning of Life and Dying in Contemporary Japan1. Death and 'The Pursuit of a Life Worth Living' in Japan Gordon Mathews 2. Dying in Japan: In to the Hospital and Out Again? Susan Orpett Long 3. Sarariiman Suicides in Heisei Japan Sawa Kurotani Part 2: Professionalization of Funerals 4. Working of Funeral Homes: Between Dignity of Death and Commercialism in Work for the Dead Daisuke Tanaka 5. Funeral-While-Alive as Experiential Transcendence Hikaru Suzuki 6. Contemporary Transformation of Japanese Death Ceremonies Haruyo Inoue Part 3: New Burial Practices in Japan 7. Beyond Ancestor Worship: Continued Relationship with Significant Others Iwayumi Suzuki 8. Life Course and New Death Rites in Japan: The Loss of Comrades in the Second World War and the Choice of Ash Scattering Satsuki Kawano 9. An Anthropological Study of a Japanese Tree Burial: Environment, Kinship and Death Sebastien Boret 10. Disaster and Death in Japan: Responses to the Flight JL123 Crash Christopher P. Hood Epilogue Hikaru Suzuki
Hikaru Suzuki is a research associate at University of Sydney, Australia.