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Bones of ContentionAnimals and Religion in Contemporary Japan$
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Barbara R. Ambros

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780824836269

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824836269.001.0001

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Embodying Hybridity

Embodying Hybridity

The Necrogeography of Pet Memorial Spaces

(p.124) Four Embodying Hybridity
Bones of Contention

Barbara R. Ambros

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the necrogeography of mortuary spaces for pets. Cemeteries often mirror social practices and boundaries among the living such as ethnic, racial, or economic segregation. Boundaries in the necral landscape are observed even more strictly when it comes to pets. They are usually buried in places distinct from human mortuary spaces. As spaces for humans and their pets converge in contemporary Japan, spatial boundaries are drawn in mortuary practices to reinforce differences between the species. This chapter first considers the burial of pets in noncemetery spaces, peripheral interment in mixed human/animal burial spaces, and how pets are included or excluded in the necral landscapes of contemporary Japan. It then explores the choice between burial or cremation, the memorialization of pets in the home, and the interment of pet cremains in cemeteries. It shows that contemporary mortuary practices place pets in a liminal position between animals and humans, indicating their status as marginal, temporary family members.

Keywords:   necrogeography, mortuary spaces, pets, humans, burial, contemporary Japan, interment, cremation, memorialization, cemeteries

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