都市葬祭業の展開と葬儀意識の変化 The Development of the Funeral Industry and Changing Perceptions of Funerals in the Urban Area
In order to investigate in detail, changes in funeral custom in the urban area, I shall analyze the memoirs of a funeral director, and the annals of a funeral company and two associations of funeral directors. In these materials, it is repeatedly stated that funeral activities are a public affair, and that funeral customs ought to become more rational. The new ways of the funeral business, involving advertisements, price lists of funerals, and the corralling of clients, were derived for the purposes of rationalizing funeral business and lowering funeral costs. However, in spite of such aims, a decrease in funeral cost was not achieved, and in fact, what resulted was a rise in the total cost of funerals. Small-scale funeral parlors in local areas developed into nationwide organizations by forming special contracts with a number of other companies. In post-war Japan, the regionally-based funeral association (soushiki-kumi), gave way to the funeral company hired by the bereaved. In this way, the general populace became free from works polluted by death. At the same time, they came to lose the knowledge they had about funerals, and became unable to hold funerals without the funeral company. It was through such a process that the funeral became a private practice.
東京大学宗教学年報 (23), 9-22, 2005