Tree burials in Japan

As early as the 1970s, public officials in Japan were concerned about a lack of adequate burial space in urban areas. They offered a variety of novel solutions, from cemeteries in distant resort towns where families could organize a vacation around a visit for traditional graveside rituals, to chartered bus trips to rural areas to bury loved ones. Beginning in 1990, the Grave-Free Promotion Society, a volunteer social organization, publicly advocated for the scattering of human ashes.

Since 1999, the Shōunji temple in northern Japan has attempted to offer a more innovative solution to this crisis through Jumokusō, or “tree burials.” In these burials, families place cremated remains in the ground and a tree is planted over the ashes to mark the gravesite…

While many families electing for tree burials do not explicitly identify as Buddhist or associate with a Buddhist temple, the practice reflects Japanese Buddhism’s larger interest in environmental responsibility. Perhaps influenced by Shinto beliefs about gods living in the natural world, Japanese Buddhism has historically been unique among Buddhist traditions for its focus on the environmental world.

All good news as far as I’m concerned. Over time, both of my parents were cremated and ended up in our family flower garden.

I wouldn’t mind just blowing in the wind up on top of the Caja del Rio mesa. Many fond memories of exploring walks up top. It commands the view to the West every day on my fenceline exercise walks.

One thought on “Tree burials in Japan

  1. Addendum says:

    (NYT June 28, 1984) “For many years, thousands of Californians have paid to carry out the last wishes of their dead relatives by having their ashes scattered from an airplane over the Pacific Ocean or among the trees high in the Sierra Nevada.
    This month hundreds of them reacted with shock and outrage at a report that the cremated remains of as many as 9,000 people were taken by car to a 10-acre site in rural Volcano in the Sierra foothills 60 miles east of Sacramento and dumped.
    Law-enforcement officials and the state’s Cemetery Board are cooperating in an investigation of the dumping ground, which had been reported by angry Amador County residents who said human ashes and bone fragments were piled up to a foot deep on parts of the property. https://www.nytimes.com/1984/06/28/us/ashes-of-9000-are-found-dumped-on-the-ground.html

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