In Japan, funeral procedures adhere strictly to traditional beliefs and customs, unlike Japanese weddings, which have been strongly affected over the years by Western influence. The beliefs and etiquette surrounding the funerary procedure is a splicing of Shinto, Buddhist, and Confucian beliefs. Most Japanese consider themselves as Shinto, Buddhist, or Shinto-Buddhist, yet it is important to the Japanese that the funeral ceremony is approached in the Buddhist practice. The traditional notions of death in Japan are also involved in the funeral process.
Traditional Japanese beliefs on death and funeral ceremony:
The Japanese people understand that the natural process of death is the final event of life, due to their relationship as a race with Buddhist and Shinto beliefs. According to Kimura, "Zen Buddhist phrases such as "accept death as it is" and "Life-death as one phenomenon" are key motifs integrated into Japanese culture" (1996, 374). True to Buddhist precepts, the Japanese also believe in re-incarnation, or the coming of a next life after one has ended. A Japanese funeral thus marks the end of a human life on earth.
Traditionally, the Japanese funeral is a very important ritual practice in Japanese society. The Japanese believe that the spirits of the dead are revived during a funeral. The ceremony itself thus does not focus on the bereavement of the surviving friends and family, but on the spiritual journey of the deceased person. Keeping the Japanese funeral tradition is important to the Japanese, who believe that retaining funerary custom shows respect for the deceased and their ancestors. The Japanese believe that their ancestors are always with them, watching, protecting, and guiding them, so respect for their dead through ritual is important.
Funeral ceremony, and associated customs:
In the hour after a person has died, the lips of the deceased are moistened, and the body is washed a…

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