Drive through funerals starting to appear in Japan

Across the world the idea of a drive-through has become very common, especially for fast food. Now though a funeral parlour in Japan has taken it to a different level by offering drive-through funerals.

The South Ueda Palace of Rest will open later this year, and will offer the country’s first and only drive-through funeral service. Mourners will remain within their vehicle and can burn incense, pray and sign a book of condolence.

Speaking to The Times, Masao Ogiwara, the undertaker behind the idea, said: “People pass judgment on us because they don’t look beyond the words ‘drive-in funeral’.

“But Japan is the most elderly society in the world and this will allow people to say their goodbye. This is not about business; it is our duty.”

The funeral parlour, based within the city of Ueda in the Nagano area of the country, is hoping to boost a business that seems to be in decline across the country.

His method behind the drive-through funeral is actually to do with the age of mourners. He found that when a very old person passed away their friends were too frail or weak to manage a funeral service, so having a drive-through meant that they could still say goodbye, and the individual would still have a dignified funeral.

Ogiwara added: “If someone is unable to attend a funeral of a dear friend, they will always be left with a feeling of regret.

“Enabling people to overcome that and to console the spirits of the dead, that is the purpose of our business.”

However, some have commented negatively on this method of funeral, mostly because Japanese culture sees traditional funeral rituals as being of the highest importance.

Aidan Rennie-Jones


October 31, 2017

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