Dying is a social as well as physiological phenomenon. Each society characterizes and, consequently, treats death and dying in its own individual ways—ways that differ markedly. These particular patterns of death and dying engender modal cultural responses, and such institutionalized behavior has familiar, economical, educational, religious, and political implications. The Handbook of Death and Dying takes stock of the vast literature in the field.
Chapter 65: The Japanese Way of Death
The process of dying and the funerary practices for the dead have changed greatly in Japan, influenced by professionalization and the division of labor. With the rise of medical institutions and the funeral industry after World War II, dying and death have moved away from home and community to hospitals and funeral auditoriums. The transition in the treatment of dying and death illustrates the shifts not only in the values of death but also in personal relationships and social networks. This chapter compares Japanese death in traditional ...