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Nature's EmbraceJapan's Aging Urbanites and New Death Rites$
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Satsuki Kawano

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780824833725

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824833725.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Nature's Embrace

Satsuki Kawano

University of Hawai'i Press

This introductory chapter sets out the book's purpose, which is to examine changing death rites in Japan's postindustrial society. The central questions asked are: What new constraints and opportunities have emerged to shape post-death trajectories in Japan's postindustrial society, and what innovations have been made to the end-of-life rites to accommodate them? How have such innovations created a new death and a new beyond? Who are the main actors making these changes? Why are they making these changes? What are the implications of these changes for the society and for the actors and their loved ones? Highlighting the perspectives of aging persons who have adopted the practice of scattering ashes to ritualize their own deaths, this study explores the creation of this new memorial strategy in Japan, one that has developed since 1991 as a citizens' movement based at the Grave-Free Promotion Society (GFPS, Sōsō No Jiyū O Susumeru Kai). An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.

Keywords:   Japan, death rites, ash scattering, elderly, Japanese postindustrial society, citizen movement, Grave-Free Promotion Society

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