Family Graves


Family graves / お墓

In Japan, most people are cremated and interred in family graves, or haka, when they die. The grave generally consists of a hollow stone monument where the ashes are kept, and space in front for flowers and incense to be offered. The front of the stone is usually engraved with the family name, and dates and individuals’ names are engraved on the side.

Culturally, for the Japanese, there is a very strong sense that those who have passed are still aware of us and the world they’ve left behind. People speak to those they’ve lost when they visit the family grave, or in the mornings as they gaze at their pictures in front of the obutsudan (small Buddhist altar). This is why, when a child dies, for example, a person might say they are glad he can be buried with his mother, so that he won’t feel lonely.

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