Unclaimed burial urns pile up in Japan amid fraying social ties

By Kaori Kaneko

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Really a fairly sad story. Problem is Japanese funerals are outrageously priced...they really are.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Funerals are for the wealthy.

Perhaps some sort of business in conjunction with a government entity can be created as a public service for those who are not well-off, estranged from their family or have no family and are worried about what happens after their death. Those who are religious and want their remains buried at a temple or cemetery pay so much and those who aren't religious and don't care whether their remains are buried on consecrated grounds will have their ashes scattered in parks (help flowers bloom!) and their bones buried in a paupers' grave.

I think the day is coming when we all might be paying for a National Funeral Expense Insurance or something similar to help the city governments cover burial expenses for the poor.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Combined the ashes? Not sure about that one,.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I wish a much more ecological way of disposing the remains of the deceased was devised and a country lacking space such as this one we could use such a method...perhaps spreading the ashes in the forest or the sea or just for the remaining relatives to take the ashes to their homes if they want...wouldn't that solve a lot of issues? I've always considered cemeteries in general to be a waste of otherwise useful land...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I'm not sure I even really want a funeral, having been to just cremate me and take the urn down the pub for a sesh....I'm buying!

I did see a family get covered in their beloveds ashes while trying to scatter them into the sea from a breakwater in England a few years back. I'm not so sure Japan legally gives you that option does it?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@gogogo yes combined ashes doesn't seem right even if your inclination is not of a religious vent. I can understand a couple requesting it, for pre death romantic reasons. It's so sad that so many people die that alone and unmissed. But when you're dead don't think you care too much. Those left behind feel their need to placate their feelings. So if you are not happy haunt the relatives that makes sence.

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"The dead are ordinary citizens. It could happen to anyone," said Kazuyuki Kitami, a city official. "These bones are warning those of us who are alive that we are poorly prepared."

That's a mean thing to say. Circumstances of life can be cruel, and can leave people without anyone to care for, or to care for them.

Also, the ridiculous costs involved are obviously a problem and don't get me started on those money-grubbing funeral businesses, guilt-tripping the sick and grieving into paying far more than necessary. Unscrupulous b'stards.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Is there anything wrong with scattering the ashes at sea ?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Another aspect is to manage expectations. If you never got married or had kids, lived a rather solitary life, and didn't get on with your siblings, what were you expecting? A 200 person funeral? Even if you got married, but decided you liked your job more than your wife, kids, parents and siblings, you probably will get a perfunctory funeral at best...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Memories of our existence will vanish with our loved ones and the value in containing our remains similarly fades.

Cremation and then mixing the ashes into a couple of bricks will leave something tangible yet allow the return to the Earth, molecule by molecule.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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