Japan’s Bizarre Shukatsu festival prepares people for death with workshops and events


Many nations around the world have traditions that we may find extremely bizarre. While our country is famous for worshiping gods and eliminating evil spirits, other nations celebrate Halloween and similar festivals to have fun and dress up as evil spirits. Such a strange tradition is followed in Japan. Tokyo’s Shukatsu festival sees people learn how to properly prepare for death.

In Japanese, Shukatsu means to prepare one’s end. Every year, December 16 is the day when the holiday is celebrated in the country. On this day, the company named “the industry of the end” teaches people by holding workshops and events about what death is and what will happen to people after they die.

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To make the experience as authentic as possible, participants often rest in coffins with sealed lids, and are taught how to prepare the body of the deceased.

Japan has one of the oldest populations in the world, as well as the largest funeral industries. A large number of people, young and old, are interested in the Shukatsu festival. China Tachiwana, Sales and Planning at TOMONI, talked about the bizarre festival and said, “This kind of event is held for people who are anxious about such things, and people who want to decide many things while they are still alive.”

The festival reminds the Japanese people of the unpredictability and pain of death. It also changes people’s perception of it and encourages them not to think about it negatively, so that their loved ones are well taken care of.

The Shukatsu festival is a great way for people to embrace the ending and understand that the process is natural. Often people are engulfed in grief over the death of their loved ones and are unable to move on with life. However, the festival reminds people that what is born will one day die, and the inevitable cannot be stopped.

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