Death and Dying in Contemporary Japan: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Death and Dying in Contemporary Japan

1st Edition

Edited by Hikaru Suzuki


264 pages | 22 B/W Illus.

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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.

Table of Contents

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

About the Editor

Hikaru Suzuki is a research associate at University of Sydney, Australia.

About the Series

Japan Anthropology Workshop Series

Editorial Board:
Pamela Asquith, University of Alberta
Eyal Ben Ari, Kinneret Academic College, Sea of Galilee, Israel

Hirochika Nakamaki, Suita City Museum, Japan
Christoph Brumann, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle, Germany

Henry Johnson, University of Otago, New Zealand

Founder Member of the Editorial Board:
Jan van Bremen, University of Leiden

Routledge is very proud to be publishing this important series, which has already signed up a good list of high quality books on interesting topics, and has a truly international range of authors and editors.

A key aim of the series is to present studies that offer a deep understanding of aspects of Japanese society and culture to offset the impression of constant change and frivolity that so tempts the mass media around the world.  Living in Japan brings anyone into contact with the fervent mood of change, and former residents from many other countries enjoy reading about their temporary home, but there is a demand also to penetrate less obvious elements of this temporary life.  Anthropologists specialise in digging beneath the surface, in peeling off and examining layers of cultural wrapping, and in gaining an understanding of language and communication that goes beyond formal presentation and informal frolicking.  This series will help to open the eyes of readers around the world from many backgrounds to the work of these diligent anthropologists researching the social life of Japan.

Submissions from prospective authors are welcomed, and enquiries should be sent in the first instance to the series editor Professor Joy Hendry ([email protected]).

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General