Cremation Society Archive Sources
DOI link for Cremation Society Archive Sources
Cremation Society Archive Sources book
Cremation in Japan requires the active participation of family members and close friends of the deceased. Normally, cremation follows the funeral ceremony, in which the body is placed in a coffin flanked by an elaborate, multi-tiered altar. A wide circle of acquaintances attends the funeral, during which guests typically approach the altar to offer incense and pay respects to the mourning family. Recent archaeological evidence, however, shows that cremation was practised in Japan well before Dôshô's time, and the written record suggests that not all cremations in the centuries immediately following Dôshô's funeral were motivated by Buddhist beliefs. By the end of the Heian period, however, cremation had become closely tied to Buddhist belief and ritual. Confucian scholars actively propagated their anti-cremation stance among the Tokugawa-period elite; and even the imperial court, which had burned its dead for centuries, abandoned the practice in 1654, when Emperor Gokômyô was buried whole.