‘Drive-Thru‘ Funeral service offered by Japanese firm
A Japanese funeral parlor is set to offer relatives the chance to pay their final respects to deceased loved ones without leaving the comfort of their cars.
The firm claims that the “drive-thru” service is a first in Japan, where a rapidly aging population means funerals are anything but a dying trade. Elderly mourners can register their names on a touchscreen tablet device and make a traditional offering of incense just by rolling down a car window – a process relayed to screens inside the venue for the grieving funeral host to watch.
The initiative aims to speed up funeral services and also to give infirm relatives the chance to participate, said the firm’s president Masao Ogiwara.”Older people may hesitate to attend a funeral because they have to ask for help to get out of the car,” “But we want as many people as possible to be able to come to say farewell to their friends or neighbors,” he said.
It usually takes at least 15 minutes for someone in a wheelchair to offer incense at the altar during a traditional Japanese funeral ceremony.Ogiwara said the time is cut down to just a few minutes by the service, which the Kankon Sosai Aichi Group in the central Nagano prefecture expects to offer from December.
Drive-through funerals are the latest in a series of Japanese innovations attempting to win a slice of the competitive 1.76-trillion-yen (S$21.6 billion) funeral business.
One trend that has sparked controversy is a so-called “rent-a-monk” system, where at the click of a mouse, a mourning family can order a monk delivered to perform the funeral rites.
Another company went even further by replacing a real Buddhist monk with a chatty human-shaped “Pepper” robot for a funeral.How about a mail-order funeral? For those who cannot afford to pay expensive funeral fees, a temple near Tokyo accepts the ashes of the deceased via mail and places it in its burial facility. — Asia Nation