While the rest of us are planning for the near future–things like vacations, finances, what to eat for lunch–some people in Japan are pushing the planning envelope and planning for the last event of their earthly lives: their funeral.
These are not people facing imminent demise, either. Many are young and healthy, but just want to know for sure they”ll look their best before burial. And how can you know if the lavender or the white burial shroud is better suited to your complexion without trying it on?
The Shukatsu (meaning roughly “one”s end”) Festa in Japan allows people to do just that. Visitors can browse through a selection of coffins, burial wear and flowers, and can even combine all the elements, including themselves, and have a macabre sort of dress rehearsal, complete with makeup for a realistically deathly pallor. (You know, for the complexion matching.)
That”s right, they dress up in their funerary garb, get into makeup and lie down in their selected coffin for a photo shoot. Some people even opt to have the lid closed on them so they can really get a sense of the interior.
“Do you think this color is really “me,” though?”
“Great legroom. Do the handles come in chrome?”
The event was held in Tokyo this year, and drew in some 5,000 attendants and 50 companies displaying their wares. Funeral planning is popular with men and women, and is actually just one part of a larger trend in Japan. Planning for your own death, which used to be considered bad luck, has become something of a popular pastime; there are even coffin catalogues produced by manufacturers designed for casual browsers.
Why the morbid trend? Who knows? I guess we all go through some form of a goth phase.