Friday, November 29, 2013

Foreign Friday

Japanese Cemetery
Misawa, Japan
Autumn 1979
It may seem strange to some, but I enjoy wandering through cemeteries and looking at headstones.

Japanese cemeteries are somewhat different from the ones in the United States. First, the headstones are extremely close together; secondly, most have a place for leaving offerings. Space is very limited, so most Japanese are cremated. The urns are usually placed in a sealed chamber somewhere near the large monument. The large headstones have the family name engraved and many family members can be inurned at this site. Individuals' names are usually carved on the sided of the topmost stone.

This short video illustrates a typical visit to a family grave.

"In Japanese Buddhism, people traditionally visit their ancestral graves around equinox days. They place flowers, foods and drinks that the deceased used to love, offer incense sticks at the tombstone and tell her/him how they have been doing these days."  Source: YouTube


  1. These monuments are very elaborate. Considering that they serve several generations of a family, it makes sense.

  2. I find peace in such places. Always so interesting to see your Foreign Friday posts Nancy!

  3. Oh my, sooo close together! I find it interesting to see old gravestones and the various ways different countries honor their dead.

  4. The video was wonderful to watch! Such a beautiful family tradition, and not too different from our own in many ways. The place looks different but the love and respect given by the family is the same.

  5. Beautiful. I love cemeteries too. The old headstones with photos are my favorites.

  6. Reminds me of a cemetery I saw in Europe...very tight also. But after some time, and I have no idea what the time period is, the bones are moved. Faulty memory means I don't know where they go. Very different than here way we have so much more room.... Interesting.

  7. Cemeteries are fascinating places. I spent quite a bit of time exploring a few with my mother about 30 years ago


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