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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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Ash Scattering and Family Relations

Ash Scattering and Family Relations

(p.140) Chapter Five Ash Scattering and Family Relations
Nature's Embrace

Satsuki Kawano

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter considers the relationship between ash scattering and family relations. It critically examines the historical-transition thesis, which is sometimes employed to argue that new mortuary practices emerged because the nuclear-family system has replaced the stem-family system and fostered mortuary practices more consistent with the new family system. It begins by first briefly defining key terms and reviewing the historical-transition thesis and its alternative. It then examines the persisting stem-family-based framework of memorial-care allocation among ash scatterers and explores the reconstruction of generational relations from the perspectives of ash scatterers and their descendants. It also analyzes the implications of ash scattering for community relations. Finally, the chapter considers ways in which ash scatterers challenge and reproduce the stem-family principles of allocating memorial assets and obligations. Ash scatterers express new ideologies of self-sufficiency and increased control over their memorial strategies and reformulate generational relations. Yet their adoption of new ideologies does not necessarily result in the complete denial of reciprocity between generations or of the stem-family-based principles of allocating to one child the ceremonial assets and the obligation to care for the family dead.

Keywords:   ash scattering, family relations, death rites, mortuary practices, nuclear family, stem-family system

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