The traditional all-inclusive Buddhist funeral service held at temples is being challenged by lower-cost freelance monks.
Obohsan.com is one of these independent-monk providers. It has 45 monks on it’s roster, enlightened in seven disciplines of Buddhism.
Having a monk dispatched to a designated funeral service location cuts out the payment to a temple, where the temple-associated monk usually performs such services.
According to a 2007 survey by the Japan Consumers Association, consumers paid on average JPY 549,000 for ceremonies that include posthumous Buddhist naming, sutra-chanting, and monetary offerings.
Obohsan.com offers an à la carte service selection – JPY42,000 yen for sutra-chanting at wakes and JPY84,000 at funeral services. It offers other pricing options, including four price plans for posthumous Buddhist naming, ranging from JPY31,500 to JPY157,500. read more:Dial-a-monk firm eases funeral cost worries
Hearses Are Too Depressing
Transport of the deceased to their final destination is becoming more subdued. Use of the traditional garish, shrine-style hearses (miyagata) is steadily declining, in part because residents near funeral homes and crematoriums have complained, saying the miyagata are tacky and depressing.
The trend of crematoriums banning miyagata became evident around 1990. Now, the longstanding bans, complaints, a desire to avoid the idea of death, and changes in attitudes about showy processions, have led to the more common selection of the unobtrusive hearse version.
The Japan Hearse Association, based in Tokyo, has a membership of about 1,500 funeral homes and operators. In total, the members own about 1,500 miyagata. The number has fallen from the 2,100 owned in 1998, its peak year. read more:Neighbors say flashy hearses too depressing