Hakajimai(dismantling a grave)
Terajimai(closing up shop in a temple)
What happens due to depopulation
Government and Today's Buddhism

Hakajimai(dismantling a grave)

 Have you been to funerals?

I've been there.My uncle became a tonkatsu...

This is...my condolence to you.

I love tonkatsu! Thank you!

Nyanta-kun,you should choose a few more words.

Sorry.By tha way,do you have anything to do with funerals and religion?

Most funerals in Japan are Buddhist funerals.It is a familiar religion on that point.

Yeah,you right.Monk said Namu Amida Butsu.

Come to think of it, recently I here to “dansyari” ,“hakajimai”.


I mean “dannsyari” to organize things around you,in other words,it is clean so as not to bother the relatives after the death. I mean “hakajimai” to organize the graves of the provinces and hometowns.

How sad it is to put away a grave! Why is that?

If the local tomb could not be inherited anymore, the succession of the tomb was cut off.It can be thought that the population is concentrated in urban areas, the connection between “ie”has become thin, nuclear families, and the declining birthrate and aging population.

I've heard that funerals had a strong “ie”ritual.

Now the individual is stronger than the “ie”.Have you ever heard of the word "own funeral"?

Bury yourself...Suicide?

Absolutely not.

It’s “own funeral” mean to try to realize a handmade funeral between friends without asking a temple or a funeral agent.

It might have been the same for me.My uncle wants me to do it only with close relatives without spending too much money on the ending note.

It seems that the simplification of such a funeral is progressing recently.Direct funerals, family funerals, and so on.Isn't Myan's family funeral?

Well...maybe it's there but,My uncle asked us to put a lot of red roses in the funeral place for some.I wonder if it's simple?

I see, but I think it's good.As I said earlier, funerals are because of the increasingly individualized.Now, it is important not how others (parents, etc.) should be buried, but how they are buried themselves.Funerals can be call to be the last self-expression of the dying.

Terajimai(closing up shop in a temple)

Japan has a lot of temples.
There are more numbers than a convenience store in Japan as of 2015.

That much! It is near and is convenient!

There are so many of them that many temples have to build a parking lot on their property or run an estate to make a living.

That being said, I think I see a lot of parking lots near temples.

How do Japanese temples and Japanese monks get paid in the first place?

The main source of income is the money we receive from Danka and funerals.

What is a Danka?

 I've heard of it too, but I don't know what it is.

Danka, simply put, is a follower of a particular temple. Danka leaves the funeral and grave management to a particular temple for generations to come, and in return, they provide financial support to the temple in the form of an offering.

Then, if we get more and more parishioners and raise the amount of money to make an offering, we can make a ton of money!

Is it really that simple?

If the temple did that, the original Danka would be upset.

In the Edo period, in Japan, it was obligatory to become a Danka, so many families are already a Danka, and it is difficult to increase the number of Danka because it costs a lot of money to stop being a Danka, and the amount of donations is also determined by the region, so it is not realistic to do so.

Well, that's disappointing.

 Nyanta isn't even a temple person to begin with.

What happens due to depopulation

On the contrary, in recent years, some temples are on the verge of disappearing due to the depopulation of rural areas. Have you ever heard of the term "Terajimai"?

I know. It's the loss of the temple because there is no one to take over the temple, right?

Yes, that's right. So why is there no one to take over the temple?

This is because people would rather go to an osier city than the country.The fewer people in the community, the fewer parishioners there will be.

Urban areas are more economically developed, you know. That's right, Nyanta. As the population moves to the cities, the interaction between temples and parishioners is decreasing, and more and more people are leaving the platform* and changing their funeral arrangements because they are too busy with work to visit the graves.

leaving the platform*‥‥Temples and Danka must sever that relationship.
You're right, if you're going to go back to your distant hometown to visit the grave, it's easier to move it closer to you.

I think there's also the declining birthrate and aging population in Japan. It's something that will be passed down from generation to generation, but there won't be any descendants to support the temple.

Yes. The declining birthrate and aging of the population and the concentration of the urban population have shaken the management base of temples and caused them to close their doors.

As you said earlier, isn't it hard to quit being Danka?

That's true. In fact, there are a lot of troubles when changing the funeral, such as the relationship between a temple and a danka (Buddhist temple) deteriorating, or the grave disappearing when I went to visit the grave for the first time in several years.

From the temple's point of view, a decrease in the number of parishioners means a decrease in income, so it's a matter of life and death.

Yes, that's right. In depopulated areas, some temples are vacant or there are priests who work as priests of several temples.

Government and Today's Buddhism

Temples are pretty much dependent on social issues and changes in society for their survival as well.

Can't we have state protection or something? It has a long history.

Japan has a principle of separation of church and state*, so we can't expect any support from the government. Because of this principle, temples that were affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake did not receive the same amount of funding as private homes, and in some cases the reconstruction did not proceed as smoothly.

principle of separation of church and state*‥‥ Prohibiting the interpenetration of justice and religion in order to guarantee religious freedom. The Japanese Constitution has adopted Article 20 and Article 89.
So you have some restrictions as a religion.

From what I've heard, it sounds like temples are pretty tough.

Will temples and Buddhism disappear from Japan in the future?

We don't know that. The form of temples is also changing in response to the changes in society.
From now on, let's think about the future of Buddhism.



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