Death rites

Following the positive feedback to the posting about Hearn and the living dead, one or two readers have asked about funerals in Japan. One of the simplest overviews is given in William Penn’s The Expat’s Guide to Growing Old in … Continue reading

Shinto death 16: Postscript

A timely article recently appeared in the Japan Times about a subject which will be familiar to anyone who has seen Okuribito (Departures), the 2009 Oscar-winning film about Japan’s special funeral services.  The care and sensitivity with which the deceased … Continue reading

Shinto death 14: Impurity

This is part of an ongoing series about the Shinto way of death, adapted with permission from an academic article by Elizabeth Kenney.  It shows how traditional Shinto arrangements differ from those of the Buddhist funeral.  Though the research was … Continue reading

Shinto death 12: Taboos

Taboo words Japan has a long tradition of verbal taboos. For example, one Edo-period Shinto funeral text includes a list of seven taboo words that must not be uttered during a period of mourning. Buddhist words are avoided, and neutral … Continue reading

Shinto death 11: Posthumous names

This is part of an ongoing series about the Shinto way of death, adapted with permission from an academic article by Elizabeth Kenney.  It shows how traditional Shinto arrangements differ from those of the Buddhist funeral.  Though the research was … Continue reading

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