In Japan, where the death of a family member is serious business and is embedded in the country’s tradition, the high cost of traditional funerals and the increasing impracticality of family grave sites have caused many Japanese to look for alternatives. One of those is to scatter the ashes of the deceased, and new services are being offered in the country to facilitate such rituals.
Grieving Japanese families are now able to rent equipment and receive assistance from friends and family in pulverizing the remains of a deceased loved one to fine powder for scattering. In such cases, a plastic sheet would be laid out, and the remains – bones and ashes of those cremated – would be laid out. The family would then gather and would be given the rented equipment designed for just that purpose. Most of the Japanese families that have experienced it have positive comments about it. For a son in Japan’s Chiba Prefecture, it was a touching moment to remember. “I never thought I would be involved in the crushing of Dad’s bones,” said the 27-year-old son. The man’s wife consented to the idea of scattering her husband’s bones, as she thought the best thing for humans after they died was to return to nature.
The woman initially thought of having a private contractor crush her husband’s remains, but then she learned that they could rent equipment for that purpose. And so she gathered her family and they did the pulverization of the remains together. The process took them around three hours, and there was general satisfaction when they saw the remains pulverized to what looked like white sand. “I was able to display my feelings because it took so much time and effort,” the woman said. The equipment for crushing works like a lever, allowing for the operation to be doable even with only a small amount of force. The cost to rent the equipment is 17,800 yen (around $170). The service is becoming popular enough that business owners say they are getting around a dozen rentals a month, and the number is slowly increasing.
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