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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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The Grave-Free Promotion Society

The Grave-Free Promotion Society

(p.88) Chapter Three The Grave-Free Promotion Society
Nature's Embrace

Satsuki Kawano

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the Grave-Free Promotion Society (GFPS) as a social organization, describing its day-to-day routines, history, people, and work. The new mortuary practice of ash scattering is produced in somewhat awkward interactions between people seeking mortuary services and those promoting the new death ideology of “freedom to choose mortuary practices” in a social movement. Older persons who have considered having their ashes scattered often approach the GFPS with a consumer's attitude, expecting to pay for the service they receive. They assume that the GFPS serves and takes care of them in exchange for money, that is, that the hierarchical relation between service providers and service users applies here. GFPS volunteers, however, contribute to their movement primarily to spread the new ideal of returning the deceased's remains to nature and to gain personal and social recognition in late adulthood. They attempt to redefine the bureaucratic task of handling applications and membership dues as personally and socially meaningful activities to promote a new value in society. In this way, the volunteers see themselves as the social equals of their potential new members and routinely resist being defined as service providers.

Keywords:   Grave-Free Promotion Society, social organization, death rites, ash scattering, mortuary practices, social movement

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