Japanese Urban Tree Burials: Diversity and Individualization
Sammanfattning: Parallel with demographic concerns and an individualization process alternative burial practices in Japan have developed. One of them is tree burials that eliminates obligations for descendants to tend the grave, takes up relatively little space in a graveyard and enables memorialization while also providing an opportunity for the dead to remove one’s self from household constraints. The thesis investigates urban tree burials in Tokyo and discusses how the burial practice reflects the individualization process in Japan using the framework of Beck and Beck-Gernsheim (2002). This thesis relies primarily on observational data, informal interviews conducted during fieldwork in Tokyo in 2020 and commercial brochures. The gathered material was analysed thematically, focusing on behaviours, objects, and location of burials in the cemeteries. The findings of the thesis noted the diversity among urban tree burial cemetery operators, reflecting consumer demand as well as hinting that tree burials are in an experimental phase in Japan. Furthermore, urban tree burials show different characteristics to both the tree burials researched by Boret (2014) and natural burials. Lastly, urban tree burials seem to be part of the individualization process of Japanese society by demanding choices to be made by its consumers and bereaved.
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